On December 22nd, Action Now members joined low-wage workers and supporters from Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, ARISE Chicago, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Stand Up! Chicago and others for a prayer vigil, march and sit-in for living wages and benefits!
Low-wage workers portraying Joseph and Mary led the holiday vigil and march along the Mag Mile to protest the poverty-like wages paid by millionaire CEOs. Workers wanted shoppers downtown on the weekend before the Christmas holidays to get the message that big corporations don’t pay their employees fair wages or treat them with respect. Macy’s, McDonald’s, Toys “R” US and other stores will open their doors to customers around the clock and/or on Christmas Day – taking workers away from their families and paying them low-wages with no holiday or overtime pay.
After the vigil at St. John’s Cathedral, we marched downtown and stopped are low wage businesses to chant and sing. Then, when we got to Water Tower Place, 21 people sat down in the middle of the street and blocked traffic to protest poverty wages. After about 10 minutes they were arrested.
Our message is clear. Pay downtown workers a living wage. The city will prosper. The businesses will prosper. Our neighborhoods will prosper. Our children will prosper.
For more photos, click here.
CBS/WBBM Radio, “Union Supporters Protest Illinois Minimum Wage”
Illinois’ minimum wage is among the highest in the nation, but retired Chicago Police Officer Charles Brown [Action Now leader] says companies can afford to pay more.
“Companies have made millions of dollars but have refused to recognize the people that have been making the money for them, the lowly workers,” said Brown.
Wall Street Journal, “Wage Debate Takes the Stage”
Supporters of increases point to workers like Tyree Johnson, a 44-year-old who works the grill and helps clean at two Chicago McDonald’s restaurants. After 20 years of being transferred among many McDonald’s outposts, “I’m still making minimum wage and living from payday to payday,” said Mr. Johnson, who makes $8.25 an hour. “It’s unacceptable.”
The high-school-educated Chicago native often falls behind on his $320-a-month rent at a men’s hotel and can’t afford health insurance or help his elderly mother. McDonald’s declined to comment, noting most outlets are franchised.
WGN News, “Police Ticket Protestors On Mag Mile”