More than 500 activists urged Congress to raise the minimum wage Tuesday afternoon during our National Day of Action. These ardent protesters rallied along a two-mile stretch of Bain Capital-owned companies–Toys R’ Us, Dunkin’ Donuts, Michael’s and Outback Steakhouse–in Southgate, Mich., a nearby Detroit suburb.
Drivers honked their horns in support as protesters chanted, “We can’t survive on $7.25″ and “We’re fired up and can’t take it no more!” and carried large banners that stated, “Shame on Bain!” and “Bain makes millions, but I’m paid play money at Toys “R” Us.”
“Many jobs are being outsourced…we need jobs in America,” said community activist Manila Freeman. “You see all these people out here? The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.”
Bain Capital, which was co-founded by Mitt Romney, is known for its unfair business practices. The private equity firm is notorious for buying up hundreds of companies, only to shut them down and outsource the jobs overseas. While posting record profits, Bain lays off workers or hires workers at a low wage without benefits.
“I’ve got a one-time raise, just 25 cents, but it’s not enough to take care of my family,” said Jigar Patel during a video interview. An employee for Dunkin’ Donuts, Patel earns only $7.75 an hour, receives no benefits, while supporting his wife and newborn child. “Everything is on me right now, the house, monthly bills. You don’t have a life. Just work, work, work.”
Yet, Bain is only a small window in a larger frame of America’s income disparity issue. At $7.25 an hour, the current wage doesn’t support families and equates to only $15,000 a year. The poverty levels are rivaling those of the 1960s, yet CEO pay increased by a whooping 725% within the last 30 years.
“People cannot survive on $7.25 an hour,” said Pastor W.J. Rideout III. “They [Bain] treat them like they’re nobody…it’s a slap in the face.”