Wage Action: Low wage worker protests slated for Boston, Worcester, Springfield on June 12
Frustrated by growing wage inequality, inspired by fast food strikes and Fight for $15, workers in Mass. declare Day of Action
MASSACHUSETTS—Fed up with an ever-widening income gap and inspired by recent national strike actions, hundreds of low-wage workers from multiple industries will gather in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield on June 12 to demonstrate for higher wages and to protest growing wage inequality.
Fast food, retail, university, transportation, home care, healthcare workers, and more
Statewide protests opposing wage inequality and calling for higher wages
Thursday, June 12, 2014, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Boston: Rally at Copley Square, followed by downtown march and rolling protests
- Worcester: Protest at Wal-Mart, 25 Tobias Boland Way, Worcester, MA
- Springfield: Rally at Mt. Calvary Church, 17 John Street, followed by protest at McDonald’s
The statewide “#WageAction” protests come on the heels of major demonstrations at national shareholder meetings for McDonald’s and Walmart, the groundbreaking implementation of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, progress on the Domestic Workers “Bill of Rights” legislation in Massachusetts, and a renewed emphasis on economic justice amongst social, political and religious leaders.
In a new development within the national wave of wage-related protests, the June 12 demonstrations will not be limited to employees of any one company or industry. Instead, Massachusetts home care workers, fast food workers, taxi drivers, adjunct university faculty and more will band together to raise awareness of what organizers are calling a crisis of low wage work in the United States.
Organizers say it’s important for the public and policymakers to recognize that the prevalence of low-wage work cuts across nearly all industries. Advocates have cited data showing that since the economic recovery began in 2009, 95 percent of economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent, and that now more than 50 percent of all income goes to 10 percent of the workforce.
Workers across Massachusetts and in several other states have been promoting legislation and ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage and ensure earned sick time for workers.
Workers organizing for the June 12 protests support those initiatives, but also say more needs to be done to hold large employers accountable who don’t pay livable wages—or who engage in wage theft, union-busting, and other corporate tactics aimed at suppressing worker pay.
Workers are also frustrated by groups like the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) who have been lobbying against legislation to increase the tipped minimum wage. Legal Sea Food CEO Roger Berkowitz is reportedly amongst those who have weighed in with policymakers against a change in the minimum wage for tipped workers. Organizers say MRA affiliated restaurants in Boston could be subject to protests on June 12.
According to the National Employment Law Project, federal data shows that the market is generating an overwhelmingly higher percentage of low-wage jobs—and less middle income jobs—than it did prior to the recession.
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Supporters of the June 12 #WageAction events include, but are not limited to: Adjunct Action SEIU, American Friends Service Committee, Action for Regional Equity, Arise for Social Justice, Boston Workmen’s Circle, Brazilian Immigrant Center, Chelsea Collaborative, Chinese Progressive Association, City Life/Vida Urbana, Community Labor United, Fifteen Now NE, Fight for 15 and a Union, Greater Boston Labor Council, Hampshire/Franklin Central Labor Council, Jobs Not Jails, Just Communities, Living Wage Western Mass., Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Massachusetts Nurse Association, Mass Senior Action Council, MassUniting, MCAN, Merrimack Valley Project, Neighbor to Neighbor, New England International Chaplaincy, New England Jewish Labor Committee, North Shore Labor Council, Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, Pioneer Valley Project, Progressive Democrats of America-Western Mass. Chapter, Restaurant Opportunities Center Boston, SEIU 32BJ District 615, SEIU 509, UAW, UAW Local 2322, United Steel Workers/Taxi Drivers, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459, SEIU 888, Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude, Western Mass. Jobs with Justice, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East