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I’m an ambitious Detroiter who has dreams and goals. I want to be able to buy my own clothes, and photography equipment, so I started working at McDonald’s. The pay was $7.45 an hour.

I’ll be satisfied with any running vehicle that can get me where I’m going. I want great credit, home ownership, and a new vehicle. So my wages are important to me. I received a raise to $8 an hour. It wasn’t enough, so I recently accepted a runner position at St. John Health System, which pays $9.02. It’s really not enough. I believe I should earn $15 an hour and have the right to join a union.

I am a part of America’s fast-growing service economy and represent where the jobs are because lost manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back. Health care and fast-food jobs are today’s factory jobs. With a union, my hard work would mean I could start saving some money, build my credit, and eventually afford a mortgage on a house.

My work life would be better as a union member. I know this from observing my brothers. One works at Chrysler and is a UAW member. He has great benefits, such as triple pay on Sundays, health benefits, paid vacations and other paid time off.

My other brother just returned from the military and works at a non-union plant. His pay is lower, and he doesn’t get benefits. Recently, we were talking about our jobs waiting in a barbershop. Everyone was impressed by the good benefits my older brother gets because he’s in a union.

Now, everyone who heard his story wants to be in a union, too, especially me. A Pew survey released in January 2017 shows 60 percent of Americans have a favorable view of labor unions, including 75 percent of people ages 18-29.

I enjoy my new job, and I work hard getting supplies for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who need me to move fast. If they need a bed to be moved from the sixth floor to the emergency room, I can get it to them in 11 minutes. If a runner on the third floor needs bleach for sanitizing, no matter where I am in the hospital, I can get it to them in a flash. I make up to 30 runs a day, and I just want to be treated fairly.

So on Labor Day, I’m not planning to attend a cookout with my family. Instead, I’m joining thousands of other fast-food and health care workers across the country in a mass demonstration for $15 an hour and the right to join a union. We need union support for fair pay in today’s service-dominated economy.

Darius Woods

D15 campaign

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