Thousands of fast food employees in two dozen cities went on strike from their jobs Monday on the 50th anniversary of the historic Memphis sanitation strike.
Las Vegas workers joined the demonstration at a fast food restaurant at Eastern Avenue and Flamingo Road where they advocated for union rights and a pay increase to $15 per hour, mirroring those protests in Memphis, Tenn., during the 1960s when sanitation employees marched against poor wages and working conditions.
“We are all here today to continue that fight because we see what happens when workers are powerless and have no voice at work,” said Luisa Blue, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union.
When restaurant manager Brittney Wolfe worked in Minneapolis, she said similar demonstrations by workers were crucial to receiving pay increases. The minimum wage in Nevada is $8.25 per hour.
“I am fighting for my children, to be able to give them more than what I can just manage on $9 an hour. It makes a difference in being able to afford the necessities,” said Wolfe, who is pregnant with her fourth child. “Here in Nevada, it’s so hard to make ends meet, all workers deserve a living wage and union rights to have a shot at a better life.”
The national demonstration Monday ended in a 1,500-person march to Memphis City Hall, following the same route sanitation workers walked in 1968. The march was led by officials in the Fight for $15, a group advocating for the minimum raise increase, and former Memphis sanitation workers who took part in the 1968 march.
“There is something very wrong that in one of the richest countries in the world, everyday working families who make minimum wage must continue to struggle to make ends meet,” Blue said.