The union-backed Fight for $15 movement promised Wednesday to launch its biggest nationwide minimum wage protest in just two weeks.
Lawmakers and supporters from across the country have worked to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Many cities already have enacted the policy, while a handful of states are fighting to be the first. Fight for $15 has been at the forefront of the policy push on the national and local level since 2012.
Now the movement is planning to launch its biggest protest Apr. 14.
“The unstoppable momentum for $15 and union rights continued to build as underpaid workers across the globe said they would wage the biggest-ever day of strikes and protests,” Fight for $15 said on its website. “Fast-food workers will go on strike in a record 300 cities and tens of thousands of underpaid workers.”
The movement and other supporters of the minimum wage increase said it could help lift people out of poverty. The higher wages means those at the bottom of the income ladder could start buying more basic necessities, which would benefit the general economy. The nationwide protest is also scheduled for around tax day, Apr. 18, to highlight corporations abusing the tax code.
“To get richer and richer, big corporations manipulate the rules to avoid paying fair wages and their fair share of taxes, forcing working people and taxpayers to foot the bill,” Fight for $15 said. “Workers and communities are being starved of the money needed to build a bright future, and left with impossible choices over how to care for their children.”
Opposition has said raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could actually hurt the very people the movement is supposed to help. Employers could be forced to cutback on their workforce or raise prices to overcome the added cost of labor. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found any increase of the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss.
The movement has seen major successes, and in just a few years has made the policy a prominent political issue. New York and California both have pending legislation in their fights to become the first state with a $15 minimum wage. Seattle became the first place in the entire country to enact the policy in June 2014 — many more cities have since followed.
Fight for $15 has also put pressure on the current presidential candidates to support the increases, with advocates protesting both Republicans and Democrats. Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders has made the $15 minimum wage a main focus of his campaign.
Sanders also started a petition Feb. 8 so $15 minimum wage supporters could demand all Democratic candidates support the policy. The petition appeared to be an attack on his primary rival former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though it did not mention her by name. She said the national minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour. The current national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
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