Pittsburghers to Strike April 15th for $15 Minimum Wage

Mar 31, 2015

Reverend Ron Wanless of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network said workers are being paid less than they deserve for how hard they work.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

 The “Fight for $15” will take to the streets of Pittsburgh April 15th.

A small group of fast food workers and Pittsburgh organization heads gathered Tuesday in front of the Northside McDonalds to announce plans to strike for an increased minimum wage.

Lolene Germany, a worker at KFC, said the strike will call for fair treatment in the workplace as well as fair wages.

“We wanted to let people know that if you support what we’re doing and you feel like you’re being disrespected at work, wherever you work – at a healthcare, fast food, retail – just come out and fight with us,” Germany said. “And let them know that you’re going to get your respect and you’re going get what you deserve.”

The organizers will gather in Oakland at 4 p.m., but have yet to announce locations where they intend to strike.

Ashona Osborne, a worker at Arby’s, said this isn’t just a Pittsburgh labor action.

“The nation is involved – it’s not just Pittsburgh, it’s not just the east coast, it’s the whole nation,” Osborne said. “Fighting for better wages, consistent hours, consistent paychecks, consistent wages.”

According to Fight for $15’s website, more than 60,000 workers throughout the United States and 35 countries around the world plan to strike.

After three previous strikes, Osborne said she hopes this strike will finally result in change.

“I think this would be the big overcome of it all,” Osborne said. “We already had a weak point within McDonalds, we have the head of state, you know, President Obama, we have elected officials, we have government, we have people really in power are looking at us like we deserve it, so I think 4/15 is going to be that big victory for us.”

However, Germany said she hopes the strike accomplishes even more.

“Not only just do we want our $15, we do want to get benefits, we do want to get child care, we do want certain things to come along with that because it’s hard trying to do everything with just that, and you expect us just to live off welfare,” Germany said.

Cities such as Seattle and San Francisco are increasing minimum wage to $15 within their borders, which Osborne said is a good sign.

“It’s inspiring to know it’s possible to win this movement, but we’ve got to worry about our own,” Osborne said. “Pittsburgh needs to stand up and fight back, and we have to get together as one and really win this thing.”