Protest personalities: Alfred Williams, Fight for 15

Alfred Williams

Alfred Williams

Each day, we profile a protest leader to give you a peek at the personalities behind the chants and signs.

City officials expect as many as 50,000 protesters a day to hit Philadelphia’s streets and a demonstration zone at FDR Park, across from the Democratic National Convention taking place at Wells Fargo Center.

Each day, we’ll profile a protest leader to give you a peek at the personalities behind the chants and signs.

Want to participate in or watch a protest march? Or would you prefer to dodge protests — and the traffic congestion they could cause — altogether? The DNC Action Committee has a protest master schedule online.

Cause

Raising the minimum wage and unionizing airport workers. He’s an activist for Fight for 15.

Strategy

Rallies and job walk-offs to demand workers get a pay raise to $15 an hour and be able to unionize. Williams and other airport workers say they’ll strike during the DNC if their employers don’t boost their wages.

Age

29

Home base

Germantown

Day job

Baggage handler at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Bet you didn’t know

Williams has worked other low-wage jobs — in fast food, maintenance, and security — but he sees his airport work as a career. His mother inspired his labor activism: She worked for the welfare department and belonged to the American Federation of State, County. and Municipal Employees. He has no wife or kids, because “I don’t feel as though I could comfortably support a family.” He dreams of someday owning his own business.

In his words

“We’re fighting to put ourselves back in the middle class, because right now we’re still in poverty. The cost of living is high. Some of us have school, families, bills to pay, and $12 an hour is not enough. Forget about going on vacations, getting a car, going back to school, or just living the American dream. We’re fighting for 15 because our [employers] don’t recognize us as workers or even as human beings.”

More protest leader profiles

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