Protesters gather at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 29, 2016, as part of a nationwide protest for a $15 per hour minimum wage. This Labor Day, some Massachusetts fast-food workers plan to join another nationwide protest for a $15 minimum wage.

Credit: Kiichiro Sato/AP

Labor Day in Boston: AFL-CIO Criticizes Trump; Fast-food Workers Protest

September 4, 2017

The AFL-CIO says it stands up for working class people, while the Trump administration is failing to deliver. That's the message at Greater Boston Labor Council's annual Labor Day breakfast Monday.

Richard Rogers is the head of the Labor Council — the regional arm of the AFL-CIO. Rogers calls it a fallacy that President Trump is trying to help the working class.

"Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Rogers says. “He's actually deregulating the economy, and all these regulations that protect workers; he's appointing anti-union zealots to the National Labor Relations Board; and he's packed his cabinet with Wall Street people."

He also says that Trump has undermined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

And Rogers says, in the last election, the union failed to convince enough members that Trump did not have their best interest at heart.

"It's an imperative now that we educate our members about Trump: what he does — not what he says, and not what he tweets — but what he does,” says Rogers.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Attorney General Maura Healey are all scheduled to speak at the Labor Day breakfast in Boston. 

Rogers says the Democratic party turned their backs on the working class during Obama's last term. And, he says, the union needs to remember that as they try to change the minds of members who voted Republican.

"I don't think they knew what they were going to get,” Rogers says, “but they were angry, and so, our role is to actually in terms of union members that voted for Trump, is to reason with them and educate them."

Rogers says collective bargaining and unions are essential to maintaining and expanding the middle class.

Local Fast-food Workers Protest on Labor Day For $15 Minimum Wage

Some Massachusetts fast-food cooks and cashiers plan to walk off the job to join a nationwide Labor Day protest — they want to see the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour.

Darius Cephas is a cook at a Chipotle's in Dedham; before that, he worked at a McDonalds.

Cephas says he can't really make ends meet on the current minimum wage of $11 dollars an hour — and that he's always juggling bills as he struggles to support his family.

"No landlord in the world is going to really want to hear your sob story on why you can't afford your rent,” Cephas said. “They want their rent on time.”

If lawmakers fail to increase the state minimum wage, protesters are also backing two proposed ballot questions which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and guarantee workers paid family and medical leave.


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