Thursday, September 4, 2014
Poster of the Week
Northland Poster Collective
Silkscreen, no date
This week’s poster features a quote from Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a tireless labor and community organizer. Mary Harris Jones began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers Union after her husband and four children died of yellow fever and lost all of her possessions in the great Chicago fire of 1871. She committed herself to the labor struggle for humane wages and working conditions and participated in hundreds of strikes across the country from the late 1870s through the early 1920s. In the 1890s, Mother Jones became an organizer for United Mine Workers in West Virginia, mobilizing miners’ wives to march with brooms and mops in order to block strikebreakers from entering the mines. When Jones was denounced on the floor of the United States Senate as the "grandmother of all agitators," she replied, “I hope to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”
Following in Mother Jones’ footsteps, this week, fast food workers around the country are planning a set of one-day walkouts, according to Fast Food Forward, an organizing group for the protests. The strikes will take place in 150 cities at restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC. Over the past two years, fast-food workers have been actively organizing the “Fight for 15” campaign to demand pay of $15 an hour—what they call a living wage—and the right to unionize. This past July, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald’s is jointly responsible for wage and labor violations that are enacted by its franchise owners.
On Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to raise the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017. Los Angeles has the highest percentage of its population living in poverty, with 28% of Angelenos today living below the poverty line. Thirteen states increased their minimum wages at the start of the year by an average of 28¢, and the city of Seattle has approved a $15 minimum wage.