Reflections from the Chicago Fight for $15 strikes

We won’t back down

By: SEIU President Mary Kay Henry

By: SEIU President Mary Kay Henry

After our biggest day of action yet in 340 cities and 20 airports, I am once again so proud of our union and amazed at the courage of the Fight for $15 and a Union leaders who are taking risks to improve their lives for themselves, their co-workers, their children and their neighborhoods.

Adrianna Alvarez went on strike at her McDonald’s near Chicago for the 10th time AND took an arrest because she felt like she had to, for her 4-year old son Manny who asks her why she has to work so much. She led the rally and was excited to introduce the Uber drivers. Her leadership and confidence that we will win are an inspiration to me.

Kisha Rivera, a cabin cleaner at O’Hare, went on strike for the first time and was fearless speaking to more than 25 reporters outside the airport with thousands of workers backing her. She told me she was sick of being treated like the garbage she picked up from the cabins. She didn't want to lose a day’s pay, but she walked through her fear of losing this job to strike and stand up for a better life. The airlines needed to make these poverty jobs into living wage jobs once and for all. These two women made me think of the thousands of individual acts of courage that occurred at 20 airports and 340 cities across America. The strikes and arrests generated massive media coverage. People who went on strike or took action gave hundreds of interviews to take the day’s core message – We Won’t Back Down – directly to the public.

The Fight for $15 and a Union leaders, together with SEIU healthcare, public and property service members, our union brothers and sisters, elected officials, community partners and faith leaders are fueling a movement calling on corporations and politicians to deal with our economic mandate and restore good jobs with fair pay.

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