Maribel Vs McDonalds: A Single Mom Fights For A Living Wage (VIDEO)

21-year-old Maribel Ponce is a hard-working, brave single mother of two. She lives in a small house in South Central Los Angeles with her two kids and eight family members. A total of eleven people share the rental property. Maribel works at the McDonald’s across from Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. The minimum wage in Los Angeles is $9.00, but she has been promoted to Crew Trainer, so she makes $9.35 per hour.

Maribel is one of many workers fighting for a living minimum wage of $15.00 per hour and the right to unionize.

“We’re fighting for $15 because $9 an hour is not enough to support my family, my two kids — my 2-year-old little girl and my 1-year-old boy,” Maribel told The Daily News. “It’s hard for me to pay my rent, my bills, to buy their needs, which is diapers, milk, wipies.”

On December 4th, Maribel walked off the job in protest. She was joined by thousands of others workers in 160 cities nationwide. Workers from the fast food, home care, airport and other industries came together to demand a living wage. For more about Maribel’s personal story, see the video from BuzzFeed below.

The protest, organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is one of a series of protests that has taken place over the past few years. Momentum has been growing and some progress has been made. The Los Angeles City Council is considering a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $13.25 per hour by 2017, and $15.25 by 2019. Both Seattle and San Francisco have raised their minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Why $15 per hour? Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, offers seven reasons why the minimum wage should be increased to $15 per hour nationwide.

1) Accounting for inflation, the minimum wage should already be over $10 per hour, but since a typical worker is now twice as productive, some of those gains should go to the worker as well.

2) $10 isn’t enough to raise all workers and their families out of poverty.

3) Since a minimum wage of $10 would leave many in poverty, the US government would have to continue subsidizing the wages of low-paid employees through public programs.

4) A $15 per hour minimum wage will put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers. There would be no major job losses.

5) In order to stay competitive, corporations are likely to pay for the wage increase from profits rather than raise prices.

6) Since the GOP will push back, it’s important to ask for a fair wage upfront rather than reducing that figure in advance of negotiation.

7) It’s just good politics. The 99% need a break.

Watch the following video for a personal, more detailed account of why the minimum wage should be increased to $15 per hour by Robert Reich himself,

Watch the following video from BuzzFeed for a closer look at Maribel’s personal struggle and her fight for a living wage,

If you would like to join the fight, visit SEIU.org and RaiseTheMinimumWage.org for more information.