Big May Day change: “Fight for 15 and a Union” converts to “Fight for a Union”
Fight for a Union/X (Twitter)

WASHINGTON — “Fight for $15 and a union” has become “Fight for a Union.”

In a way that reflects a success for the first part of its cause. So many states and cities—including deep red states such as Arkansas and anti-union states such as Florida—now have $15 an hour, or more, as a minimum wage, so that it now covers most people in the country.

But in all the drives to raise the wage, and thus raise the living standard for millions of low-wage workers, the “and a union” part of the cause was often omitted or forgotten. Now the campaigners have changed that—starting just before May Day by changing the name.

Of course, the catch is that the $15 minimum wage is now too low. In an attempt to partially make up the time lag, Senate Labor Committee Chair, Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., has introduced a bill for a $17 an hour minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t risen in 15 years.

The campaign began its rebranding announcement with “From the beginning, we were speaking out, organizing, and striking for a union. As workers, we fight for a thriving wage, not just a living wage.”

“For more than a decade we’ve fought to raise wages and standards for low-wage workers across the country. We’ve won raises for millions of workers, and developed new ways for workers to represent and empower ourselves! We continue that fight today. We Fight for a Union!

“The fight for 15 and a union started 12 years ago with a simple demand: A $15 an hour livable wage for all workers. Since then we’ve made huge strides as workers, winning billions of dollars in raises. But in a country with the minimum wage still stuck at $7.25 an hour, the demand lives on.

“But there was always a second part of that demand, unions.

“As workers we were striking for a rising wage, not just a living wage. For equity, community, dignity, protections against AI and automation, dignified retirement, safety on the job and time with our families. Justice in all its forms. And so many other things that a union provides. The union is how we fight for the lives we want to live and the world we want to see.”

Fight for a Union is already involved in one key drive, campaigning for Massachusetts legislation that would preserve the right to unionize for Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as other “gig economy” workers. The two big ride-sharing firms are pumping millions of dollars into their own campaign for a referendum to ban unionization, just as they succeeded in doing in California through ads featuring dissident drivers, shills, or both. They spent more than $200 million there against a minimum wage.

“Gig workers such as rideshare drivers have seemingly become indispensable, but we’ve been degraded and exploited by corporations like Uber and Lyft. And just like many other workers in low-wage jobs, we have been left out of basic worker protections,” Nantucket rideshare driver Anthony Grant explained in a Fight For A Union posting on May Day.

“Over the last century many workers, including those in farm work, care work, and service work, have been written out of labor laws by the rich and powerful. These are the folks who are afraid of the power Black, brown, and immigrant workers have if we join together. We understand that the root of why we’ve been written out is racism and sexism. We’re fighting to rise above that history–above that status quo—and determined to win better.”

The Rideshare Driver Justice Bill which Fight for a Union and its allies are pushing “would prevent Uber and Lyft from paying us less than the state minimum wage and would grant us the freedom to form a union and collectively bargain over wages, benefits, and working conditions.”

“At the end of the day, no matter your job, race, or place, you have the right to demand respect, protections, and pay. You have earned a union of co-workers who will have your back through thick and thin. Rideshare drivers like me, we’re fighting for those things. We’re showing the wealthy & powerful and the mega-corporations we work for what worker power means.”

The new campaign and its new website is

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Press Associates
Press Associates

Press Associates Inc. (PAI), is a union news service in Washington D.C. Mark Gruenberg is the editor.