Features, Labor News Briefs, Municipal Government, National

‘Fight for $15’ Rally Marks 50th Anniversary of Memphis Garbage Strike

February 19, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—More than 500 people marched to Memphis City Hall Feb. 12 to demand a $15-an-hour minimum, taking the same route city sanitation workers did when they launched their historic strike on Feb. 12, 1968. “I hope y’all get what you want,” Baxter Lee, one of the 1968 strikers, told the crowd. The march was one of several Fight for $15 demonstrations held nationwide to mark the anniversary of the walkout, which was one of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last campaigns. Robert Paden, 24, who came down on a bus with marchers from St. Louis, told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that he was tired of “slaving” for $7.65 at Little Caesars, and that a raise to $15 would “help me get out of the slums to a better place.” “Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King and a bunch of sanitation workers fought for equal rights and to be able to form a union,” Detroit marcher Antwan Williams, 29, a community-college student who makes $9.25 at Captain Jay’s Fish and Chicken, told the Detroit Free Press. “Now I’m here fighting for those same rights.” Other marches were held in Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, and Des Moines.  Read more

February 19, 2018

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