Fast food workers will protest outside the Republican presidential debate next week in Milwaukee to bring the issue of a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of American politics.
The protest will be the culmination of nationwide fast food strikes Tuesday organized by the Fight for $15, a Service Employees International Union-backed campaign that aims to increase pay for all low-wage workers.
Across the country, fast food workers will strike in 270 cities, but the focus will be on Milwaukee, where Republican presidential candidates could face tough questions about income inequality.
Many GOP candidates have questioned the need for such a steep hike in pay, and the fast food workers hope to show their political muscle during the Republican debate.
“The Fight for $15 has shown it can influence the politics around wages and the economy,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, said in a statement. “This movement is creating a new voting bloc that frankly has too often been ignored by the political process.”
The Fight for $15 has brought fast food workers together with home care, nursing home, child care, grocery store clerks, farm workers, mechanics and truck drivers in hopes of creating a political force that will drive up the minimum wage.
The strikes will simultaneously take place in hundreds of other cities — “from Detroit to Denver, in red states, blue states and swing states” — according to union organizers.