Nevada LegislatureSocial Justice

Fight for 15 Activists Hit Las Vegas Strip, Demand Fair Wages on Labor Day

On Labor Day, hundreds of economic justice activists took to the Las Vegas Strip to demand fair wages and workers’ rights. They were joined by Members of Congress, local elected officials, and other progressive activists on a warm Monday morning. And they marched just hours before President Donald Trump announced his final decision on the DACA program some 13,000 Nevadans rely upon for legal immigration status.

“All American workers deserve a living wage. They deserve health benefits. That’s the American dream!”
– Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas)
Photo by Andrew Davey

Outside the McDonald’s near Harrah’s, activists gathered to hear from various community leaders on why they were all taking to the streets on Labor Day. Titus tapped into the anger of the crowd in denouncing the Trump Administration’s anti-labor agenda. “We don’t need any more trickle-down [economics]. We don’t need any more BS.”  

Titus then addressed the other big issue of the day when she stated, “Workers’ rights are immigrant rights.” With Donald Trump announcing the end of DACA this week, Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) also urged the crowd to continue fighting for DREAMers and immigrant communities alongside workers’ rights. “These workers are making our economy strong. […]  This is not just about economic opportunity. This is about social justice.”

Watch the #FightFor15 rally on the #Vegas Strip

Posted by Nevada Forward on Monday, September 4, 2017

“I am not backing down, Mr. Trump. We’re going to take you on.”
– Rep. Ruben Kihuen

On a street that’s become synonymous with conspicuous consumption, activists were reminding the tourists and other passers-by that none of the Las Vegas Strip would be possible without the workers who keep everything running behind the scenes.

Here's some footage from the #Vegas #LaborDay March, as #FightFor15 activists walk the Las Vegas Strip in support of living wages and workers' rights.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Monday, September 4, 2017

 

The march became even more symbolically striking when activists walked past the Venetian and the Palazzo, the casino resorts owned by anti-union, right-wing mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. They then marched right past the Trump Hotel, where workers fought Trump for better wages and a union… and won.

“It’s not right that we work so hard for so little when we’re working to support our families.”
– Lupe Guzman
Photo by Andrew Davey

After the march, we caught up with Fight for 15 activist and Carl’s Jr. worker Lupe Guzman. In January, she was calling out CEO Andrew Puzder’s record of mistreating workers as Trump was pushing for the U.S. Senate to confirm him as Labor Secretary. The howls of protest from Guzman and other worker advocates played a major role in Puzder withdrawing from consideration in February.

Since then, Guzman has gotten a small raise… But it’s still not a living wage. That’s why she continues to speak out for her fellow fast-food workers. While she’s heartened by the Nevada Legislature’s initial passage of SJR 6 to raise the state’s minimum wage to $14 per hour by 2024, she urged legislators to finish the job and ensure that families like hers can actually make it in this state.

Guzman also debunked a common talking point used by right-wing groups that minimum wage workers are primarily teenagers, not mature workers with families. “It’s not a job for teenagers any more. You have moms, dads, grandparents. These are their jobs. Their paychecks take care of their families.” Guzman then brought it all together in explaining why she continues to Fight for 15: “It’s not right that we work so hard for so little when we’re working to support our families.”

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