Thousands gathered in Union Square on Tuesday. Workers in low-wage jobs joined with faith leaders, unions and politicians in New York City to demand better pay, benefits and working conditions for ALL workers.
Across a variety of industries and different organizing campaigns, workers came together and fought back against bosses who pay them less than the minimum wage, deny them overtime and provide little or no benefits. They demanded that irresponsible employers be held accountable.
The date, July24, was picked to mark the last time the American minimum wage, which reached $7.25 was raised three years ago.
A 20-block march from Herald Square to Union Square was led by faith and community leaders where they were joined by thousands more.
Along the way, Mini-demonstrations were staged on the doorsteps of “bad employers”, including Chipotle, J.C. Penney, Burlington Coat Factory and Dunkin’ Donuts. Employees of these companies spoke out at each stop along the way. In front of Burlington Coat Factory, Shantese Jones shared her grievances “I’m a mother of three children and $8 an hour is just not going to kick it”.
The march ended at Union Square, where it joined a lively crowd of several thousand people. Looking around, one could clearly see the wide array of people who came together that day- with workers from several industries (Locked out Con Edison workers, taxi drivers, airport workers, daycare providers, janitors and retail employees) , many community organizations (UnitedNY, Make The Road New York, Domestic Workers United, New York Communities for Change, and more),and labor unions (SEIU 32BJ, the Retail Wholesale and Department Workers Union and the Communications Workers of America, Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, and more) represented.
The last stop of the Manhattan protest was a loud demonstration outside the Consolidated Edison building on Irving Street, where a crowd of Con Ed workers, joined the large demonstration.
Afterwards, groups split up and left on buses to highlight bad employers and poor working conditions around the city, including Golden Farm Supermarket in Brooklyn, and Hi-Tek Car Wash and LMC Car Wash and Lube in Queens. Workers at all three of these businesses have stated that they receive very low wages, and reported wage theft.