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'Fight for 15' Protest Hits L.A.

Low-wage workers gathered in Downtown L.A. and marched their way to the steps of City Hall, protesting in favor of a nation-wide $15 minimum wage. 

Low-wage workers and union activists rallied in Los Angeles and other cities across the country on Tuesday, in hopes of raising the national minimum-wage rate. 

The marches were scheduled to happen in 270 cities nationwide as part of the "Fight for 15" campaign, which demands increasing minimum-wage to $15 an hour.

In Los Angeles, a local protest was organized by the Service Employees International Union. Fast-food employees and other minimum-wage workers gathered at a McDonald’s in Downtown and marched their way to the steps of City Hall.

Protesters march for higher minimum-wage rates. (Scott Cook / Annenberg Media)
Protesters march for higher minimum-wage rates. (Scott Cook / Annenberg Media)

Two drummers led the way, as thousands of spirited protesters marched behind to their beat.

A group of child-care workers chanted, “We need a change and we don’t mean diapers!” Others chanted more typical choruses of “We are the union, the mighty, mighty union!” and “What do we want? Fifteen! When do we want it? Now!”

L.A. City Councilmen Paul Krekorian (District 2), David Ryu (District 4), and Paul Koretz (District 5) joined the rally one block north of City Hall, and marched with them the rest of the way.

Protesters came from all over Southern California to take part in the Downtown march, which was Los Angeles’ second such march of the day.

Scott Cusick, a Pizza-Hut employee from Carson, explained his frustrations.

“The cost of housing has been going up, the cost of food has been going up, the cost of living has been going up, but our wages are still the same,” he said. “There’s no keeping up with the Joneses.”

When asked what a $15 minimum-wage rate could do for her family, Marjorie Johnson, a child-care worker from San Bernardino, said, “It could change our lives! We won’t have to wonder if we could pay the rent today or put food on our tables for our children!”

Mayor Eric Garcetti and county officials have already approved measures to raise the minimum-wage rate in L.A. County to $15 by the year 2020.

However, many business groups oppose raising the minimum-wage rates by so much, as doing so could force employers to raise prices or lay-off workers. 

California’s minimum-wage rate is currently $9 an hour, but will increase to $10 an hour with the New Year.

Listen to the radio report of this story here

View the protest StoryMap here.

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