About 50 Fast Food workers rallied in front of City Hall today in downtown Orlando, demanding an increase of the minimum wage to $15 dollars. This rally was one of many taking place around the country, after State Panel in New York recommended an increase to $15.
“We must stand up and fight back against the system” said Clint Cuyler, who explained his personal journey to the rally “It’s not right that we’re in the City Beautiful, Orlando, the epicenter of the tourism world, it’s not right that they pay us whatever they want, and it’s time that we make this right”
“I see a movement among all people that say ‘We refuse to take no less than $15′” said Apostle Robin Harris “Anything less than $15 is a modern day lynching, and we are out here today to say that we will not by lynched. We stand together in solidarity with New York and around Florida, we will not be sharecroppers any longer. We want what is rightfully ours and we want today to be victorious”.
The rally also featured workers from the WalMart and the Health Industry, each explaining how their living conditions were under the minimum wage and the good that could come from an increase to $15 dollars. The event was put on in cooperation with the activist group Organize Now! and other local labor groups.
The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.05. Opponents of the increase say, the move would push the industry towards cheaper automated labor, and would make hiring workers unaffordable for smaller businesses. Advocates say the increase would actually spur hiring and the trends in cities that have adopted the increase show no increase in unemployment numbers.
Orange County Democratic Executive and Candidate for Florida House District 49 Carlos Smith also spoke at the rally and agreed to take the minimum wage challenge and live off of $8.05 for one week. “The reason we have not increased the minimum wage ” said Smith “is because Tallahassee politicians are bought and paid for by big fast food corporations that don’t want to pay workers fair wages. Thanks to people like you, people are starting to understand we need a living wage.”