Valentine’s Day demonstration planned at Boston’s South Bay Center to protest low wages
DORCHESTER, MA – On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., workers and advocates will be conducting an outreach blitz to workers and shoppers as part of a visibility action at one of Boston’s largest ‘big box store’ shopping centers to raise awareness of the national Fight for $15 campaign.
The emergent #WageAction coalition will be conducting a series of “shop-ins” at retail and restaurant locations throughout the South Bay Center shopping plaza, delivering printed valentine greetings to shoppers and the many workers employed in low wage jobs at South Bay. School supplies, food, children’s shoes, and other goods purchased during the shop-ins will be donated to local charities.
The valentines being delivered to workers read in part, “Working for peanuts? $15 is so much sweeter!” and will be attached to bags of candy that have been custom printed with slogans such as “Low Pay is Not OK!” and “Fight for $15!”
Meanwhile, advocates have also filed new state legislation entitled the “Act to Establish a Living Wage for Employees of Big Box Retail Stores and Fast Food Chains”. (SD852/HD2835).
The bill, which would apply only to large corporations with 200 or more employees, would require big box retail and fast food corporations to pay their employees at least $15 an hour by 2018. The increase would be phased in over three years – $12 in 2016, $13.50 in 2017, and $15 in 2018.
WHO: Workers and advocates from the #WageAction coalition, including labor, religious, and community groups.
WHAT: Demonstration and “shop-ins” to protest low wages and raise awareness of the Fight for $15 movement.
WHEN: Saturday, February 14, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: South Bay Center, 8 Allstate Road, Dorchester, MA @ Mass. Ave entrance closest to Bank of America
Advocates say a living wage will provide greater economic security to low-wage employees at big box retail and quick service fast food chains, many of whom are parents, allowing them to meet basic needs and alleviate the struggles between work and family. Without family-supporting jobs many workers earning the minimum wage are forced to work three or more jobs to piece together enough money to pay their bills.
When workers have more money in their pockets, they spend it at small businesses in their neighborhoods – helping those local businesses grow and create more jobs. For employers, higher wages mean more efficient and satisfied workers and less employee turnover, making it easier to recruit and retain workers and helping their bottom line. In other countries, fast food chains pay as much as $20 an hour and offer far more employee benefits, yet they still remain profitable.
A follow-up action is also planned for Sunday at various restaurants in the Fenway area. The weekend of demonstrations are part of the broader plans of the #WageAction coalition to do actions promoting the Fight for $15 and other causes relevant to workers’ rights on the fifteenth of every month in 2015.