Facing the Capitol, the workers knelt in prayer. Heads bowed, arms outstretched, they prayed for Pope Francis’s message of economic justice to resonate at one of the central points of America’s political power. They held a fake popemobile plastered with Francis’s picture, quotes from the pontiff, and a message to the pope: “Low-Wage Workers Welcome You!”
Washington: Popemania has begun.
With Francis just hours away from landing on American soil, low-wage Capitol and federal contract workers organized by Good Jobs Nation went on strike Tuesday morning. Their demand: $15 an hour and a union.
This isn’t the first time that Capitol and federal contract workers have gone on strike to raise their pay to what they say would be a living wage. But with Francis—an equality advocate with one of the largest soapboxes—almost in their midst, they seized the moment to rally again, as many other activists will do in hopes that the pontiff will mention their cause during his first visit to the United States.
Earlier this month, more than 40 Capitol contract workers sent a letter to Francis, asking him to meet with them. “We want you to know that even though we serve the wealthy and the powerful in the Congress, we earn so little that we live in utter poverty,” the letter states.