In an exemplary display of civic action, hundreds came out to Miami recently to protest the $7.25 federal minimum wage. The rally, organized by a local activist group, 1Miami, was a response to the inequity of a steadily rising cost of living and a minimum wage stuck in the sevens. According to the organization’s data, the minimum wage should be $10.55 an hour in order to be commensurate with inflation.
Participants in the rally included many people directly affected by the minimum wage. One protester, a janitor at a luxury apartment building downtown, expressed his belief that group action is the only way to effect real change. Individual wage and hour claims often go unheard, but when hundreds of voices speak out together, there is the potential for action.
Another man, a former marine and shopping cart collector at Wal-Mart, cited his disappointment that, as a veteran, he is still living in poverty, earning just $7.70 an hour. An increase in the federal minimum wage, he feels, would enable him to better provide for his family.
Also in attendance were several activists, political figures and business leaders who, though not directly affected by the minimum wage, recognized the simple justice of a reasonable wage. One woman, a local CEO and candidate for District Commissioner, explained the absurdity of a system in which cost of living, insurance and housing all go up and wages stay the same. To her and many others, raising the minimum wage is obvious and necessary.
The rally, which took place at a waterfront park, included the symbolic laying down of bread and roses, an homage to the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, which helped establish the first minimum wage and promote the need for better working conditions.
Source: Huffington Post, “Miami Minimum Wage Protest: 7 People We Met at the Rally,” Christina Lilly, July 25, 2012