Thousands to Take Stand for Low-Wage Workers


Teamsters will join with thousands of low-wage workers in Richmond, Va. tomorrow to let elected officials across the country know that the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage is only getting bigger and they plan on having their voices heard.

Attendees at the first-ever Fight for $15 Convention are descending upon the former capital of the Confederacy in a symbolic move to show how the nation’s racial history continues to effect economic opportunities for millions nationwide. Nearly 64 million U.S. workers make less than $15 an hour, including more than half of black workers and nearly 60 percent of Latinos, according to an analysis by the National Employment Law Project.

“Teamsters stand with the Fight for 15 because without strong wages we can’t have a strong economy with good jobs,” said Nessibu Bezabeh, a Washington, D.C. taxi driver and member of Local 922 who is attending the convention. “We have to look at the big picture and organize as drivers and workers everywhere.”

The event begins Friday evening with a speech by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. On Saturday, Rev. William Barber will speak. Barber is the architect of North Carolina’s “Moral Mondays” movement and recently addressed the Democratic National Convention. He will lead a march of workers down the city’s Monument Avenue, which mostly honors former Confederate leaders, before the event ends with a rally at the Robert E. Lee Monument.

During the convention, attendees will vote on a plan to mobilize low-wage workers throughout the 2016 presidential election and beyond. They will take stock of their nearly four-year-old movement’s stunning successes—almost 20 million workers have won significant raises as a direct result of the Fight for $15, including some 10 million who are on their way to $15 an hour—and chart a course for working Americans to win changes that create inclusive prosperity, starting with the November elections.

The convention marks the first time workers fighting for $15 an hour and union rights are coming together across industries — with fast-food, home care, child care, airport, university, manufacturing, retail and farm workers among those expected to be involved.

The Teamsters are proud to join with pro-worker allies to stand up for everyday Americans trying to earn a fair wage that will allow them to support themselves and their families.