In 21st century USA, how would you feel to have to work ONE hour to feed your kids breakfast?
Kim Bobo, (center) founder and founding Director of the national IWJ (Interfaith Worker Justice; www.iwj.org/about/staff/kim-bobo), and research originator and author of “WageTheft” was keynote speaker at “Labor, Faith and Community” on International Women’s Day in Boston.
Kim’s book documents the unspoken crime of the ” billions of dollars stolen every year from the wages of millions ” of working women and men in the United States. (Google:kim bobo wage theft; or www.thenewpress.com/books/wage theft).
The luncheon was hosted by MIWJ (Mass Interfaith Worker Justice), of which Tess Browne, SCN is on the leadership team, and by SEIU 32BJ (www.seiu32bj.org/who-we-are).
Interfaith panelists, Rev Jim Flavin, Vicar of Central Region of the Boston Archdiocese, Rabbi Margie Klien and Imam Talib Mahdi drew on their respective faiths and holy texts to emphasize workers’ rights to just wages, dignity and human working conditions.
SEIU 32BJ is organizing workers at Logan Airport, where airlines have contracted out services, where wages have been trimmed for cleaners, baggage handlers, ticket agents, and wheel chair assistants, at the same time that fares have increased, and fuel prices have decreased.
Workers gave testimony: in one case a worker got a raise, then hours of work were cut from 34 to 24 hours, also cutting health care benefits. Keila, another worker, a single mom and baggage handler works one hour, $11.00, to buy cereal and milk to feed her 4 kids one breakfast.
Luncheon guests could sign up for various supportive activities, including signing a petition to the MA legislature, of raising the minimum wage to $15.00 for airport workers. A delegation of workers took the petitions from the luncheon immediately to the legislators at the State House, a block away.