LOS ANGELES/CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Workers from fast-food chains and nearly 20 airports will join nationwide protests for higher pay, union rights and immigration reform on Tuesday in their first major action since businessman Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election.
McDonald’s Corp restaurants in 340 cities will be prime rally targets, while baggage handlers and cabin cleaners at Chicago’s O‘Hare and Boston’s Logan international airports will demonstrate in support of workers demanding starting pay of $15 per hour, organizers at the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign said.
Home health and child care providers, and some drivers for ride service Uber Technologies Inc are set to join the action, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Last year Trump said U.S. worker wages were “too high” and made the U.S. uncompetitive, while this year, he has said the minimum wage should rise, with states taking the lead.
Hopes of a hike in the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage were dashed in November by the election of a Republican-controlled Congress, but advocates say they will continue to press for increases on the state and local level.
“We’ve already run a path to $15 (per hour) in states like California and New York and we’re not stopping now,” said LiAnne Flakes, 40, a child care worker from Tampa, Florida, who said she plans to protest.
Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington raised their state minimum wages in November, and labor groups are considering campaigns in states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Mexico.
Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU in New York, said Trump won the election by promising jobs for voters who were not able to see a way toward success for themselves or their children.
“There is no question to us that this is a moment that working people need to take action, mobilize, organize, and that (Trump) needs to be held accountable for his promises,” said Figueroa.
Protesters also are likely to criticize Trump’s promise to deport up to 3 million undocumented workers with criminal records and his treatment of women and Muslims.
“We reject sexism and racism and we will not allow our friends and family members to be deported,” said Terrence Wise, 37, who works at a McDonald’s restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri.
McDonald’s said in a statement that it invests in its workers by helping them to earn degrees and on-the-job skills. Franchisees, who own most U.S. fast-food restaurants, set wages for their employees.
Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Bill Rigby