DSA and YDS Mobilize Workers for Fight for $15 Day of Action

Metro Atlanta DSA strongly endorses the upcoming Fight for $15 national day of action, which falls on Tuesday, November 10. At 5:00pm on 11/10, outraged and abused fast-food workers, home care workers, and other low-wage workers will confront Atlanta City Hall, demanding that the Atlanta City Council and Mayor Reed do everything in their power to achieve a $15 minimum wage in our city. This is the latest in a series of growing actions to demand that exploitative employers pay their workers a living wage and respect the right to democratic representation in the workplace.

Beyond participation in the November 10 mobilization, our DSA local has expressed a deeper commitment toward organizing and mobilizing low-wage workers and allies.

MARTA passengers read Fight for $15 campaign literature while awaiting their destinations. This setting creates opportunities for political dialogue, as people are more likely to converse while they’re idly waiting for their train stop. In a densely packed train, a single conversation can spread a wave of interest among nearby workers who would benefit from the security of a fair living wage.

For the past two weeks, DSA members have played key roles in weekly canvasses intended to elevate political discussion in public venues and recruit low-wage workers into the Fight for $15 movement. At this past Saturday’s Fight for $15 canvass, 9 canvassers (out of 11 total) were members of DSA or YDS Emory. These canvassers divided into small teams and initiated discussions on MARTA and in downtown Decatur, collecting roughly 250 new worker contacts within two hours.

On MARTA, DSA activists observed the “Halloween Fight for $15” holiday by donning Bernie Sanders masks, channeling the presidential candidate’s words in loud announcements to cars filled with MARTA passengers. “Let me be clear: it is a national disgrace that people working 40 hours per week in this country are denied a basic living wage, ripped off by Wal-Mart and other greedy corporations that pay poverty wages,” said one Bernie impersonator, who proceeded to explain that people have an alternative when they organize, following the examples in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, where workers took to the streets and engaged in strike action until their demands were met.

Several YDS Emory members participated in the Fight for $15 canvass. Many had never canvassed for a grassroots campaign before, so this was a transformational experience for both canvasser and the canvassed!

The response was overwhelmingly positive. One MARTA train erupted into applause and cheering after the announcement was complete, with dozens of passengers demanding clipboards to join the movement. This is no great surprise: MARTA trains are typically filled with low-wage fast-food workers, airport workers, and others who are bitterly commuting and eager to achieve more justice in the workplace. Metro Atlanta DSA will continue to mobilize Atlantans for the November 10 action, and we encourage others to join us!

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