Service workers are protesting in cities across the country today, calling for the minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
The movement originally began in 2012 as the Fast for 15 movement, which initially focused on raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers, but has now expanded to include workers in almost all service industries such as home-care, child-care, airport workers and retail.
The Fight for $15 website claims to have organized rallies in 230 cities across the United States.
“When you pay someone a decent wage, it helps him to get better healthcare and take care of his family,” said Karen Joubert, a nurse and Fight for 15 organizer. “Many of our members who work at fast food restaurants are not college students. They’ve worked there for 12, 15 years. They are working three jobs so that they can raise a family. We want to see them get better wages.”
President Barack Obama in the 2015 State of the Union Address said that he was in favor of raising the minimum wage.
“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. … And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise,” Obama said.
Several states passed ballot initiatives in this past year’s midterms to raise the state minimum wage, including Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer Tweeted the following outlying his support for an increase in the minimum wage to $15, which he says will “reduce the number of New Yorkers who spend more than half of their income on rent by over 90,000.”
— Scott M. Stringer (@scottmstringer) April 15, 2015
Some however, see a raise in the minimum wage, especially by such a drastic amount as potentially detrimental to the economy.
“Don’t get me wrong, if the cost of living rises, so should minimum wage,” said Marcel Porter, 34, of Bartsow, California to The Guardian. “If the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour, it would kill our small businesses.”
The Fight for 15 movement created the video below to show how they feel that workers who make the current minimum wage don’t need to feel thankful for just barely scraping by.
[The Guardian][Photo courtesy The New York Post]