At least 1,500 fast food workers are expected to walk off the job tonight to protest outside the presidential debate at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, L.I. The protest is part of labor group Fight for $15’s ongoing mission to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
During his quest for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders endorsed a $15 an hour minimum wage, but Hillary Clinton has set the bar at $12 an hour, while indicating support for model that increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour in phases, similar to what’s been done in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, to avoid unintended impact on employment.
Donald Trump has held several positions on raising the minimum wage in the past year or so, including keeping the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour (August 2015), letting the states decide whether to raise the minimum wage, which he characterized as too low (May 2016), and raising the federal minimum to $10 an hour, while saying he’d still prefer states to set their own (July 2016).
The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour works out to $15,080 per year, assuming a 40-hour workweek — below the poverty threshold for a family of two.
“This election, the 64 million workers paid under $15/hour are bringing together their friends, families, coworkers, church members, and more to make sure candidates on both sides of the aisle know we refuse to be ignored any longer,” said Alberto Grant Jr., a terminal cleaner at JFK Airport, in a statement.
“That’s how we won $15 in New York and we can win it for all workers across the country,” he added. “Because whether you’re an airport cleaner, a home care worker, or a fast food cook, low wages affect everyone. This year we’re mobilizing because poverty wages won’t fly in America, and we’re going to use our power to elect candidates who are dedicated to creating jobs that lift our families and our communities out of poverty.”
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