Hundreds of workers in Hartford are expected to go on strike Thursday in the long-running campaign to raise the minimum wage. The one-day stoppage once again calls for $15.00 an hour.
The Fight for 15, as the movement has styled itself, began with fast food workers, and once again they’ll be leading the day of action.
Evelyn Lopez works at Burger King at downtown Hartford. She gets paid Connecticut’s minimum wage, $9.60 an hour.
"I am a mother of six children, and I am currently living under my parents' roof, because I had to move out of my place because my income isn't enough," Lopez told WNPR. "So I really need this Fight for 15. We need to win this."
But this time, the unions backing the action have also involved other industries, like home care and child care workers.
Crystal Williams works at Mount Olive Child Development Center in Hartford. She gets paid $12.50 an hour, but she said it’s still hard to make ends meet. She said she’s joined the movement for herself and others.
"I'm doing the Fight for 15 not just for myself, but the parents that I provide care for," Williams said. "I talk to parents, and I see that they have similar struggles with making ends meet, paying the bills that they have to pay."
The prominent debate about income inequality is helping draw attention to the minimum wage fight, and California and New York recently became the first states to pass laws that will raise their minimums to $15.00 over several years.
Williams said that’s encouraging.
"It empowers me more to continue to fight, to keep going, to keep sharing my story," she said.
Workers in Hartford plan to rally at the Capitol on Thursday afternoon. They’re joining workers in cities across the country in what the organizers project will be the biggest day of protest so far in the campaign.