Recent events in the United States have demanded a minimum wage increase and thousands of people are making it known in the USA that they aren’t pleased with the minimum wage and how the increases haven’t been satisfactory. To take a stand, it was demonstrated Wednesday, April 15 in New York where citizens were demanding a minimum wage of increase up to 15 dollars an hour, saying that with any less than that, it’s becoming more and more impossible to live decently in our largest city in the country.
Similar strikes and protests have taken place in over 230 cities, according to organizers, who expected the widest ever mobilization of underpaid workers. They estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people attended the New York event.
Among the protesters were all sorts. Everyone from fast food workers to airport employees, health workers, those who worked with children, construction workers and more all came together to form a singular solid movement of solidarity. Many were, at times, denouncing their working conditions on some yards of buildings built for the ultra-rich. The minimum wage in New York is currently 8.75 dollars an hour, and should see an increase to 9 dollars next year.
But that isn’t enough for many claiming it’s frankly too difficult to survive. In the crowd, Pedro Gamboa, 58, a baggage handler at JFK, works 40 hours a week and gets up at 3 am. He earns $10.10 an hour. “It is not enough,” he said. “You have to be a magician to survive on that. Once you have paid your bills, your pockets are empty,” says this father was born in Guatemala, which says that they currently survive on food stamps. This is the case pretty much across the board. Minimum wage is often compared to college tuition fees and how they’ve both grown more and more unevenly throughout the last decades.
The first of the demonstrators were gathered at 6 am in front of a McDonald’s in Brooklyn. Several hundred people were then found at in Manhattan by noon, lying in front of another McDonald’s in protest, because minimum wage is not without its association to the fast food industries country-wide. It’s going to be at a standstill before it gets better. Minimum wage takes a lot of effort by both the people and the government to change. Taxes, inflation, population increase and market fluctuations are all required to be taken into consideration.
“We are here to demand equal rights for all those working,” explained Jeanine Keen, union carpenters. “We must be in solidarity with all workers,” she added, stressing the need for everyone to be able to organize. With all union works standing together in this struggle, is it fair to expect a statement, a remedy, or anything in return? And if not, what’s the next step? Will laws be broken to acquire what is thought to be rightfully property of someone in this situation? Hopefully it won’t come to this, and it’s difficult to believe that there’s nothing the government can do in this time of obvious struggle for the middle and lower class.