Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fast Food & Beyond: Labor’s Fight Against Inequality

low_wage_jobsApril DSA Forum:

WHEN: NEW DATE Thursday, May 14, 2015

WHERE: 9 Hamilton Place, Boston (Encuentro 5)—across the street from Park St. T stop

SPEAKERS: Gillian Mason—Jobs with Justice; Carl Nilsson—Fight For 15

According to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam, the top 1% will soon own more wealth than most of the rest of the world combined. Senator Bernie Sanders notes that the six heirs to the Wal- Mart fortune are richer than the bottom 40% of the American people. Meanwhile U.S. wages have been stagnating since the 1970s, and the standard of living for much of the working and middle class has actually declined. And now economic inequality has become so difficult to ignore even Republicans have taken notice.

 So what to do about it? Proposals range from Obama’s mildly progressive tax reforms and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, to doubling down on the same neo-liberal economic policies that helped bring about this decline in the first place—like Obama’s proposed new trade agreement. (A partisan of “bi-partisanship,” the President seems to have a foot in each camp.)

 But one party often ignored in these political and policy debates has more of an interest in fighting inequality and more capacity to do so than anyone else: the labor movement. Our speakers will assess union struggles here and abroad, and in particular the current efforts of local fast food workers to organize for a living wage against Big Food.

 Gillian Mason is development coordinator for the Student Debt Campaign at Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a leading advocate for social justice since 1987, and has also led JWJ efforts in health care and higher education. Previously Gillian worked with MoveOn.Org’s Boston Council and the Jamaica Plain Forum, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

 Carl Nilsson works on the Fight For 15 campaign to raise the wages of low income workers; last year he was a key leader of Raise Up Massachusetts, which helped pass the paid sick leave referendum. Carl has also been a stand-up comic, an organizer with MA Neighbor to Neighbor, Barack Obama’s 2008 MA field director, and has held similar positions with the campaigns of Governor Patrick in 2010 and Senator Ed Markey in 2013.

Download a PDF flyer HERE.