These Are The Faces Of The Fight For 15 Movement

Workers protested nationwide Tuesday in an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Here are some of their stories.

Employees nationwide took to the streets Tuesday to fight for a higher minimum wage of $15 per hour, saying they are struggling to make ends meet year after year.

One woman working as a waitress said she depends on tips to supplement her $5-per hour income. A woman making $9.60 an hour said she was protesting in order to support her children.

Here are their stories and others:

Willa Frej/Huffington Post
Name: Gabrielle Hatcher
Age: 27
City: New York
Job: Waitress
Pay: $5 per hour plus tips
Why she’s protesting: "As a tip worker, I make a sub-minimum wage of $5 an hour plus tips, so I never really know how much I’m going to make, and in every other position you generally know how much you’re making before you take a job. A lot of people here are wondering why we’re talking about racial justice, but racial justice and economic justice are really just two sides of the same coin here. As a woman of color, I’ve been passed up for promotions and higher-paying positions. I’ve been turned down from positions where I’d be making more money because they only hire white males at a lot of fine dining establishments in the city. I live with five other workers in the city and we struggle to make ends meet because we never know how much we’re going to work. We work for eight hours plus, and sometimes we only make 20 bucks. We can’t afford health coverage, so we stay sick longer, we serve the public when we’re healthy and if we don’t find coverage we risk losing our job. Being a tip worker kind of exploits you to the whims of total strangers. It’s kind of ridiculous that businesses expect their customers to pay their employees. It doesn’t make any sense, especially because I’ve experienced harassment a lot and there’s not a lot of room to speak up or defend yourself without losing your job."
Willa Frej/Huffington Post
Name: Jorel Ware
Age: 34
Employer: McDonald's
Pay: $8.75 per hour
Why he's protesting: "I’m a fast food worker. What’s motivating me is there’s a lot of different issues going on in the United States with living wages, with Black Lives Matter issues, immigration reform, childcare. These issues are basically the same because everybody’s going through them, black and brown people are going through this. This is how it comes together and it gives me the drive and I’m finally willing to make a change. I’ve worked at McDonald's for two and a half years."
Willa Frej/Huffington Post
Name: Berta Chacon
Age: 48
Employer: A beauty salon
Pay: $300 per week
Why she’s protesting: "We are fighting for $15 an hour in order to survive in this city that is very expensive. Our salaries are very low, so we need $15 in order to survive and to help our families in our home countries."
Michael Mclaughlin/Huffington Post
Name: Ernestina Sandoval (right)
Age: 35
City: Richmond, California
Employer: McDonald's
Pay: $9.60 per hour
Why she's protesting: "I'm here because they don't have our back. When we were robbed, the owner didn't really come see how the workers were. It was really sad. We're asking for security. This McDonald's is in a bad area. I depend on my McDonald's payment. I have a teenage daughter here and a son out of the country. I try to send money home but sometimes all I can afford is $20. I'm an everything, multitasker having to do six or seven jobs. I've always made minimum wage. I started at $8 an hour. Now I make $9.60."
Dave Jamieson/Huffington Post
Name: Warner Massey
Age: 55
City: Fort Washington, Maryland
Employer: Goodwill of Greater Washington, working in the U.S. Senate
Job: Custodial
Pay: $13.50 per hour
Why he’s protesting: "I’m no different than nobody else here. I need more money, too. That’s the bottom line. ... I figure if I have a couple more dollars on my check, that will help ease the pain a little bit. I haven’t been able to take my wife on a decent vacation. We’ve been married for nine years. That’s what my goal is. Make a little bit more money so I can do these things.”
Michael Mclaughlin/Huffington Post
Name: Shardeja Woolridge
Age: 19
City: Hayward, California
Job: Cashier/student at Berkeley Community College
Employer: McDonald's
Why she's protesting: "I'm here for the fight for 15. We work very hard. I've seen wage theft by McDonald's. I haven't been paid for overtime. We're not allowed to use our sick days either. I called in one time and said, 'I'm not feeling well' and first, they put me on hold. Then they just hung up on me. We need security too. I've been attacked by a customer. She punched me in the face at the drive-through window. Then I got punished for trying to defend myself. The money is just not enough. I want to help my mom out, but I can't. I can't pay for books at school, either. Things need to change."
Dave Jamieson/Huffington Post
Name: Shariff El-Shariff
Age: 36
City: Washington, D.C.
Employer: Starbucks, Union Station, D.C.
Job: Shift supervisor
Pay: $14 per hour
Why he’s protesting: “We’re struggling. We need to raise our kids and raise our families. With the price of food and the price of rent, we don’t know what to do. I work with people who make $11 per hour. It’s not enough for them. We’ll struggle until we get what we need.”

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