Credit: Contributed

This Monday, members of the Fight for $15 announced a nationwide work stoppage Nov. 29. Workers around the country want to signal to the incoming Donald Trump administration that they’ll keep fighting for a living wage no matter who is in office.

Subcontracted baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors and wheelchair attendants at Chicago O’Hare International Airport plan to strike to protest unfair labor practices by their employers. These practices include retaliation, intimidation, threats and harassment whenever workers attempt to organize. Thousands of fast-food cooks and cashiers plan to walk off their jobs as well to call on places like McDonald’s to raise wages to $15 an hour and to respect workers’ right to form a union. At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, workers also plan on striking, demanding the right to organize.

“Today’s low-wage airport jobs look a lot like those at McDonald’s, or in the home care or child care fields, or even in our factories and universities,” stated Oliwia Pac, a wheelchair attendant, security officer and escort for minors at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. “This needs to change and we are going to keep joining together and speaking out until it does.”

“Every day we make sure passengers get to their gates safely, get their luggage and get on a clean plane, but our families can’t get by,” added Nancy Vasquez, a skycap at Newark Liberty International Airport, in a statement. “If huge corporations like the major airlines and McDonald’s paid us $15/hour and respected our right to form a union, our lives and this country would be very different. The Fight for $15 shows that we have to take action, and even risk arrest, and that’s what we’re going to do Nov. 29.” Vasquez said she makes $2.10/hour plus whatever tips she gets (which are unreliable).

The wave of upcoming demonstrations will also feature home care workers, early childhood teachers and other activists.

Living wage battles aren’t just an American movement. In Europe, on the same day work stoppages take place here, the European Parliament will hold a hearing on petitions from British, Belgian and French unions citing mistreatment of McDonald’s workers across the continent (including the practice of “zero-hour” contracts where employees aren’t guaranteed any hours). In Berlin and in Amsterdam, airport workers are also expected to strike.

Back in the U.S., the fight for living wages and the right to organize has reached the ivory tower of college campuses. Columbia University students are currently planning for an early-December vote to join the United Automobile Workers.

“My parents emigrated from Lebanon and worked day and night to take care of our family and give me the chance to pursue higher education,” said Robert Chlala, a graduate assistant at the University of Southern California, in a statement. “Now, it’s my turn to make sure my colleagues and workers around the country have equal opportunities for a better life. I’ll do whatever it takes to win workers like me higher pay and union rights for all workers and fight tooth and nail against any efforts to deport immigrants or take away our health care. The Fight for $15 is here, we’re fired up and we’re not going away.”