Underwritten by the Service Employees International Union, the Fight for $15 is composed of fast-food workers, home health aides, child care teachers, airport workers, adjunct professors, retail employees—and, as Fight for 15 puts its, “underpaid workers everywhere.”
The Fight for $15 has two main goals: to secure a $15 minimum wage and to unionize a wide range of underpaid workers, from fast food and retail workers to graduate workers and adjunct professors. Though those being paid minimum wage in the U.S. are extremely vulnerable and afraid to unionize out of fear of being fired, the Fight for $15 is attempting to give them the support that has been lacking due to the demise of unions over the past several decades. While this may seem like a simple goal, the balkanized nature of the U.S. low-wage labor force entails that is an uphill battle to bring together such a wide range of workers under one umbrella. The workers that the Fight for $15 has unionized thus far are just a drop in the water compared to the United States' low-wage labor force, demonstrating the immense work that is left to be done. More intermediate goals include fighting legal protections for franchised restaurants and simply getting the word out to as many low-wage workers as possible.
The main oppositional forces are fast food corporations and similar employers who pay a low wage. These employers are represented by a strong lobbying apparatus, with one example being the National Restaurant Association. Fast food corporations and similar low-paying employers are deeply-entrenched in Washington, as they realize that the inability to pay such low wages would significantly hinder their business model.