New York protesters demand higher minimum wage, unionization
“We came out today to support the workers of Wal-Mart and to say that they have a right to form unions and to freely associate, and to fight for better wages and working conditions. We think that Mike Duke should listen to their concerns,” A worker activist.US low-income workers have staged a demonstration in New York City calling for higher wages and the need to organize a labor union, Press TV reports. Hundreds of protesters joined Wal-Mart workers in front of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City to demand a raise in the minimum wage rate, as well as the need to organize labor unions for workers of all occupations.
The protesters also targeted the policies of Wal-Mart’s CEO Mike Duke, holding him accountable for paying workers a low minimum wage, forcing many to file for public assistance, retaliating against workers when they began to organize and speak out about working conditions and the mistreatment of workers, especially warehouse and immigrant workers.“The biggest thing is that Wal-Mart is a giant corporation. It’s the largest private employer in the United States. They’re reaping in incredible profits every year. Many of their family members are in the top ten richest people in the United States. They could afford to pay their workers enough not to have to live on government benefits and food stamps,” said an activist. “We came out today to support the workers of Wal-Mart and to say that they have a right to form unions and to freely associate, and to fight for better wages and working conditions. We think that Mike Duke should listen to their concerns,” the activist concluded. The protest rally followed a similar demonstration last week, when other low-wage workers spanning business sectors including the major fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, New York’s carwashes, supermarkets and airports, joined forces to demand better pay. Meanwhile, many low-wage workers in the US rely on public assistance to get by in the country’s fragile economy amid reports that the government plans to slash the budgets for various public assistance programs as the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and program cuts draws near. GMA/SZH