Local Underpaid Workers Vow to Take Fight For $15, Union Rights to the Ballot Box in 2016

CHICAGO – Chicago fast-food cooks and cashiers will join the largest-ever strike to hit America’s fast-food industry on Nov. 10 – one year from Election Day – with walkouts planned for a record 270 cities, including Chicago. Following the strike, fast-food, home care, child care, nursing home, and airport workers throughout Chicago will protest outside of the Thompson Center, joining underpaid workers in 500 cities nationwide to demand that elected leaders nationwide stand up for $15/hr and union

The strike comes as Chicago’s underpaid workers say they’ll be taking the Fight for $15 and union rights to the ballot box to show candidates of all political stripes that the nearly 64 million Americans paid less than $15/hr are a voting bloc that can no longer be ignored. There are around 2.5 million workers in Illinois paid less than $15/hr.

There will be strike protests all day throughout the city and various actions led by airport, nursing home workers, and students.

WHO: Fast-food, home care, child care, nursing home, airport and other underpaid workers. Adjunct professors. Students from Chicago colleges and universities. Dozens of racial justice, immigration, religious, and community based groups. Thousands of community supporters and Chicagoans.

WHAT: Fast-food strike in Chicago, followed by rally at the Thompson Center with local home care, child care, airport workers, other underpaid workers, and thousands of Chicagoans and supporters to demand $15/hr, union rights

WHEN: November 10, 2015

**Contact Jennifer Owens [312-218-8785] for most up-to-date information or follow @ChiFightFor15 on twitter for live updates.

6:15 AM *Speak Out and Strike Protest
McDonald’s, 1951 N. Western Ave.

10:00 AM *Speak Out and Strike Protest and March to Chicago Police Department Headquarters
McDonald’s, 207 E. 35th Street

5:00 PM *Massive Rally and Speaker Presentation
James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St.
*Press Check-In at Front of Stage

5:45 PM *Massive March Protest to McDonald’s
James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. to McDonald’s at 203 N. LaSalle St.

March Trajectory: March will start from the Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph St.), head north on LaSalle St., then east on W. Kinzie St, and then South on Clark St. The march will end at the McDonald’s at 203 N. LaSalle St.

The Nov. 10 nationwide fast-food strike and city hall protests are part of the growing political engagement by the Fight for $15, a group of workersBuzzFeed said, “could make up a powerful new voting bloc, and the Associated Press said are displaying, “increasingly potent political muscle.”

The expansion of the Fight for $15 into the 2016 political arena marks the latest sign of the mounting political power of underpaid workers who, just three years ago launched their movement for higher pay and union rights in New York City. The demand for $15/hr is already helping to define the 2016 presidential race. All of the major Democratic presidential candidates support the Fight for $15, and the Democratic National Committee voted in August to make $15/hr an official part of its 2016 platform. In June, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told fast-food workers at a national convention in Detroit, “I want to be your champion,” and said that “what you’re doing to build the Fight for $15 movement is so important.” In recent months, Clinton has held round-table meetings with home care and child care workers fighting for $15/hr and union rights.

A recent poll of workers paid less than $15/hr commissioned by the National Employment Law Project showed that 69% of unregistered voters would register to vote if there was a candidate who supported $15/hr and a union; and that 65% of registered voters paid less than $15/hr would be more likely to vote if there was a candidate who supported $15/hr and a union. That’s 48 million potential voters who could turn out if there were candidates who backed higher pay and union rights.

Over the next year, the Fight for $15 plans to engage this untapped voter group around issues of higher pay, union rights, improved child care and home care, racial justice and immigration reform— issues identified by underpaid workers as key factors in whether they will go to the polls for a candidate. Forty-six percent of workers in America are paid less than $15 an hour.

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