The onset of a nationwide wage rage kicked off in Boston yesterday as Northeastern adjunct professors, union organizers and student activists converged on the Centennial Common to air out their grievances before marching through the city.
Boston led the strikes a day earlier than the rest of the country due to the anniversary of the 2013 Marathon bombings. Low-wage workers connected to the "Fight for $15" and Wage Action Movement will strike today in 230 cities across the nation.
The Fight for $15 campaign kicked off two and a half years ago.
A study by the Brookings Institution showed that Boston is the third most inequitable city in the nation where the top five percent of household earning as much as 15 times what the bottom 20 percent make in a year.
Speakers at the McDonald’s on West and Tremont streets raged against low wages in the heart of a major metropolitan area and custodial workers at the AMC Loews Theater stood against the janitorial subcontractors where wage woes have been under the Attorney General’s microscope.
Sabrina Johnson, a 23-year-old from Dorchester who has worked at the Harvard Square Chipotle for eight months, was among those pushing for a higher wage and union protection.
“People like me depend on this job to survive,” said Johnson. “These companies get billions of dollars and you’re telling me they don’t have the money to give us $15 an hour? If it weren’t for the crew members they’re wouldn’t be anything. Management can’t do it on their own. We deserve this.”
Johnson thinks the company should give employees another break in their shift and allow them to form a union, which she says would foster improved workplace protections.
Chipotle often touts its ethically sourced food. The company, according to its website, tries to use local farmers when feasible and dairy from cows without the use of synthetic hormones. However, Johnson thinks Chipotle treats the produce better than its employees.
“They’re always telling us that Chipotle has better standards than Panera Bread, better standards than Qdoba,” she said. “I feel like they’re lying to us.”