This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
by Matt Trinder
UNION activists have insisted that grassroots campaigns are the key to future industrial victories following the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage in the US.
The Fight for $15: Lessons for Yorkshire online meeting on Tuesday night, organised by the Yorkshire & the Humber branch of the TUC, honoured the inspirational US-based Fight for $15 movement, which has created a model for worker-led organising.
The movement began in 2012 when 200 fast food workers in new York walked out to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights.
It soon spread across the country, prompting states such as California, New Jersey and Florida to commit to a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
Fight for $15 has since inspired movements on six continents such as Black Lives Matter and local campaign groups including Sheffield Needs A Pay Rise (Snap).
Fight for $15 organiser Ben Master said a “1930s moment” was needed, a nod to the explosion of trade union membership in the US as workers demanded better treatment following the economic crash of 1929.
“Unless we have something similar, which is pushed by this militancy from below, there really is no hope for a robust labour movement anywhere in the industrialised world,” he said.
US workers represented by the AFL-CIO union confederation will hold a national day of action tomorrow to push senators to pass the Protect the Right to Organise Act, which could transform industrial relations.
Snap organiser Rohan Kon, who trained with Fight for $15 activists in the US last year, said the movement was not about a “service-based” union model but concerned “people power,” and training the next generation of activists.
“We need to have conversations with workers about what issues are facing them, and empower them to form unions and fight back,” she said.
“The work will be slow and hard. But if we are going to transform how this country works, no shortcuts are going to be found in policy papers.”
Snap successes so far include a campaign to pressure Wetherspoons pub-chain owner Tim Martin to provide furlough payments to 43,000 workers, and improved health and safety measures for staff at a Sheffield KFC restaurant.
Fellow Snap activist Aya Ismael Hoez said: “I had never heard of a trade union [a year ago]. Now I’m part of this movement. We’re united.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.