Kim Thomas felt drawn to being a home health aide after caring for her own
ailing mother. Human dignity, she says, can be simple, like a bath and a
favorite snack. When Thomas first started visiting homes to care for
patients, she made $7 an hour. That was in North Carolina about 16 years ago.
Her pay inched up over time, to $10.50. To try to make ends meet, she
sometimes would work through the night, dozing in patients' homes. That's
when Thomas, 55, discovered and joined the Fight for $15 movement, which had
galvanized workers around the U.S. to march and rally for higher pay.
Initially, in 2012, it started with mainly fast-food and retail workers. But
within years, the campaign drew in low-wage workers from all over, with jobs
in airports , child and health care, even universities. It grew into one of
the largest waves of labor activism in recent history. And it was unusual.
Though rallies were funded and organized by labor unions — including the
prominent Service Employees