Demonstrators rally at USC to raise minimum wage

first_imgHundreds of Los Angeles workers and community members gathered Wednesday in the neighborhood surrounding the University Park campus to rally for an increase in the minimum wage from $9 to $15.25 with enforcement provisions and paid sick leave.Part of a national effort, the demonstration, organized by the coalition Raise the Wage LA, was called “Fight for $15 on 4/15” and began in downtown Los Angeles early Wednesday morning. Around 11 a.m., workers made their way toward Figueroa Street and 28th Street. Many of the demonstrators were employees of McDonald’s and other businesses in the area. The event culminated in a final march to USC’s campus, down Trousdale Parkway to Tommy Trojan, where supporters chanted before dispersing around 1 p.m.In addition to USC organizations and adjunct professors, participants included workers from across Los Angeles County representing faith-based organizations, nonprofits, unions and grassroots campaigns. These included large union groups such as the Service Employees International Union and We Care LA.Michael Green, the regional director of SEIU, helped organize the demonstration. He said that similar events were occurring throughout the country.“Today is a special day,” Green said. “As you realize, it’s 4/15/15 — fight for $15 on 15. Not only are we doing this here; we’re doing it in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle — all the major cities.”Green said the demonstrators come from a wide variety of backgrounds.“We have people of different ethnicities, with different interests from San Gabriel Valley to San Fernando Valley, to South Central L.A. and all the way to Harbor City and Wilmington and the Pacific Palisades,” Green said. “We’re all here together: L.A. County workers from custodians to parks and recreations workers to social workers, nurses, support services, clerical units. Everybody is here together.”Currently, USC workers make an average of $18,800 annually, A recent amendment to the USC Hospitality and Auxiliary Services contract has increased their wages by 75 cents.Wednesday’s rally comes as the Los Angeles City Council is considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage in the city to $13.25 by 2017 or $15.25 to 2019.Opponents of such an increase warn that it could potentially harm small businesses and nonprofits, especially those with small profit margins.Green lauded the supportive role non-tenure track faculty played in the rally. Faculty Forward, a national “grass roots” awareness effort meant to highlight the conditions of part-time faculty under SEIU, was also present at the demonstration.“We have been engaged with some of the faculty here that have expressed interest and asked for help in making sure that we can create a pathway for their future and create a gateway for our own.”He also explained that all of the demonstrators had the desire to display their common sentiment towards wages.“We wanted to make a statement that we’re all in this together,” Green said. “Whether it [be] adjunct professors, with the disparity and inconsistency of them having no job protection and having to survive on inadequate wages, whether it’s McDonald’s workers, or the Los Angeles County workers, or any other workers in Los Angeles that are trying to survive and pay rent and make less than $15 an hour.”Green closed his remarks by explaining that the rally was an act of brining workers together.“Our action is going to speak for us … we’re all in this together,” he said. “We want to take away poverty wage and replace them with living wages.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*