United States: Despite mass arrests, striking workers undaunted in minimum wage fight

Kansas City, November 29.

Hundreds of service workers were arrested while striking for a US$15 minimum wage and the right to form a union in cities across the United States on November 29. Organisers say the strikers remain undaunted.

“We won’t back down until we win an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few at the top,” said Naquasia LeGrand, a McDonald’s worker from Albemarle, North Carolina.

"We work at O’Hare, one of the biggest airports in the world, but we still live in poverty,” said one airport employee in Chicago.

Independent outlet Unicorn Riot captured footage of the arrests of 21 striking workers in the early morning hours in Minneapolis. Some workers were even arrested in the middle of interviews with reporters. Workers were arrested in Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit and elsewhere.

The strike, organised by the Fight for $15 collective, is the first of its kind since the election of President-elect Donald Trump. The nationwide action has inspired observers who see the workers’ solidarity and commitment to their cause as a lesson for progressives facing an extreme right-wing administration.

The striking workers include “airport baggage handlers, Uber drivers, fast-food cooks, cashiers, hospital workers,” as Common Dreams reported. Many actions directly addressed the president-elect’s repressive policy plans: “Immigrants are the heart of the American workforce!” declared workers in Las Vegas, for example.

Widespread solidarity between the striking workers was celebrated on social media, with one video showing hundreds of striking Chicago O’Hare airport employees joined by thousands of supporters.

Democratic Representative from Califorina Barbara Lee tweeted: “In the richest nation on earth, it’s a disgrace that parents working full time are forced to raise their families in poverty.”

“If someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty,” added socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.

[Abridged from Common Dreams.]

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