The crowd blocked the entrance to the Copley Symphony Hall building.
  • The crowd blocked the entrance to the Copley Symphony Hall building.
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Activists pushing for a higher minimum wage through the labor-backed Fight for 15 campaign staged their biggest protest yet on Wednesday.

Starting early on the morning of April 15, the protest — timed to coincide with the federal income tax filing deadline to highlight the fact many workers' wages are so low they must rely on public assistance — wound its way through fast-food restaurants in North Park, Copley Symphony Hall, and government buildings downtown before rallying on the campus of San Diego State University, where over 700 workers and supporters gathered. As many as 100 people were said to have joined the caravan between earlier stops throughout the day.

"Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect on the jobsite," said Christina Hernandez with the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, speaking to a crowd amassed at Civic Center Plaza shortly before noon during a pause in the marching. "They deserve a dignified wage, which is a living wage."

In addition to fast-food workers, with whom the campaign for a $15 minimum wage began, others, including janitorial workers, security officers, home health workers, and adjunct professors at local colleges and universities (who want to be paid $15,000 per course they teach) have joined in to clamor for higher pay in their respective sectors.

"We need to stand up for this [wage increase], for something that will help us progress in our lives," said Ricky Cope, who works as a local private security guard. "Right now I'm pretty sure most of our lives are stagnant — we can't climb out of this hole that low wages have put us in."

In July 2014, the city passed a compromise version of a minimum-wage hike that was lower than both an initiative proposed by councilmember Todd Gloria and a competing ballot measure.

In short order, mayor Kevin Faulconer promised a veto, and petitioners gathered enough signatures to push their proposal to a public vote, delaying any action until at least June 2016.

Organizers say over 200 protests across the country were held during the “day of action,” part of a continuing campaign.

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Comments

Maryanne April 17, 2015 @ 5:18 a.m.

and yet most of this crown begging for a higher minimum wage all support amnesty and open borders....what a shame they can not understand the single biggest impediment to raising wages for entry level works is a stream of MILLIONS of illegal aliens allowed to remain in the US who are ALWAYS, day in and day out, willing to work for 1/2 of what they are demanding. That is simply economics, simple math and common sense. Yet the same folks will push for open borders and amnesty. Well, soon it wont be illegal aliens, rather, a simple kiosk and robot that will place these folks on Unemployment.

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AlexClarke April 17, 2015 @ 6:19 a.m.

Wages in the lower ranges will not change as long as employers rely on taxpayer funded welfare to support their employees. If low wage workers could not get welfare benefits Mac 'n Don's would have to raise wages and provide benefits to attract any workers. Consumers think they are getting a good deal when they shop low wage businesses but it is their tax dollars that allow the employer to pay low wages. Maryanne is correct that some jobs will be replaced by technology and that has always been the case however until technology becomes economically feasible they will rely on low wage workers subsidized by the taxpayer. If low wage workers were forced to live in cardboard boxes on the property of their employer it would then become visible to the consumer/taxpayer that cheap labor has a cost. If a business can not afford to pay a living wage and provide benefits then the taxpayer should not have to subsidize them.

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dwbat April 25, 2015 @ 9:11 p.m.

I'd like to see some of the fat cat GOP business people who scream about higher minimum wages go work a day's shift at a fast food restaurant, be a home health worker for 8-10 hours, or clean buildings all day at very low wages. They need to experience how difficult these jobs really are, and why such employees deserve fair pay so they can survive. If Seattle and San Francisco can increase the minimum wage by a significant amount, so can San Diego. How can we remain "America's Finest City" if we DON'T do it?

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