A small crowd of Washington, D.C., advocates joined the Fight for $15 movement Thursday for a national strike against low-wages.
Advocates from across the country took to the streets in what organizers hoped to be their biggest protest yet. Roughly two dozen District supporters met with Mayor Muriel Bowser, who spoke in favor of the increase.
“I’m a home care worker and I feel I deserve more than what I am getting,” Tiffany Hunter, one of the advocates, said to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I work hard for my clients and I work hard all day and I am caring and compassionate with the work that I do and I feel they don’t give us enough credit. I can’t take care of myself, take care of my family with the wages I am making.”
The Fight for $15 has been at the forefront of the policy push since it started in 2012. New York and California became the first states Apr. 4 to enact a $15 minimum wage marking a huge victory for advocates. The policy has grown in popularity in recent years but had previously only seen city-level victories starting with Seattle in 2014. At the moment, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
“Its been a long struggle but its been worth it,” Celeste Turner-Holmes told TheDCNF. “Its been hard with what they’re paying now to try to take care of your family and all.”
Crowds were considerably bigger in other cities across the country. The Fight for $15 website reported crowds took to the streets in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco among other cities. The day of protest also received international attention with Switzerland, France and other countries across the globe turning out in support.
“I’m definitely happy with the crowd that came out,” Hunter said. “I wish it was more people but I’m definitely excited and glad the amount of people that came out.”
The Fight for $15 has been marketed as a grassroots movement, but skeptics have expressed doubt about the claim. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) indirectly spent $18.6 million on the movement in the past year alone. Some have accused the movement as being an organizing drive for the SEIU, since unions are restricted by law on how they can unionize workers. Non-union labor groups aren’t restricted in the same way, but are forbidden from organizing workers without filing a petition for an election.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found both positive and negative results from increasing the minimum wage. It found any increase in the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss. The University of California, Berkeley found in a recent study that having less people in poverty outweighs the potential job loss.
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