Rally for better pay

Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center marched in solidarity yesterday with federal contract workers striking for better pay and a union. Under the leadership of Good Jobs Nation, people rallied for President Obama to direct future service contracts to model employers by executive order. The workers also want $15 an hour and a union. 

Larry Couch, Executive Director of Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center, represented Sisters of the Good Shepherd at the rally.

better pay
J. Herbert Nelson (tall minister in center), Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, said the opening prayer for the rally. Sandy Sorensen (in colorful stole) serves as Director of the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Washington, DC office. She said the closing prayer for the rally. Larry Couch is in blue behind Sorensen. Larry is the Executive Director of Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center.

“Last year I participated with Good Jobs Nation in an act of civil disobedience to press Obama to issue an executive order that future federal service contractors must pay their employees at least $10.10 an hour. The action was successful with Obama issuing the requested executive order. Our civil disobedience consisted of blocking traffic in front of Union Station. We all received citations,” Larry said.

Better Pay, Mr. President

Good Jobs Nation is an organizing body that is united in calling on the President of the United States to take executive action to encourage federal contract companies to pay living wages, offer good benefits and allow workers to collectively bargain without being forced to go on strike to be heard.

To further show their solidarity with low-wage federal workers, faith leaders sent a signed letter to President Barack Obama and the Department of Labor Faith Outreach Office in support of the strikers.

Larry spoke with one of the strikers at the rally. The man he spoke with is 62 years old, diabetic, and has lost several toes due to his illness. He does janitorial work and has complained to his supervisor that he needs more breaks, since it is painful to be on his feet for a long time.

“One time the man passed out on the job,” Larry said.

“His supervisor suggested that perhaps he needed to find a different occupation. My acquaintance gave a bitter laugh and asked, ‘Who would hire a 62 year old man?’

“When we began our conversation the man was in ill humor. However, as we continued to speak, he seemed to feel better. I will remember him,” Larry said.

The rally was held near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 22, 2015.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com