U.S. fast-food workers rally for $15-an-hour minimum wage
Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders back 'Fight for $15' protesters
U.S. fast-food workers protested on Tuesday in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights in a campaign they hope will catch the attention of candidates in the 2016 elections.
Home care workers — including these protesters in Los Angeles — joined the demonstrations, as did employees in retail and on-contract cooks who say their current minimum is not a living wage.
Organizers of the union-backed "Fight for $15" campaign, which began in 2012, said strikes would take place in 270 cities including Washington, where these trombonists (striking low-wage Senate contract cooks) joined hundreds of people rallying in support of increased minimum hourly wages and union rights.
Last year the group staged similar protests in some 200 cities.
Income inequality 2016 election issue
Among Democratic presidential candidates, front-runner Hillary Clinton, who backs a federal minimum of $12 an hour, and Martin O'Malley tweeted support for the protests and strikes.
Another Democratic presidential candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (holding the umbrella), told about 250 mostly black and Hispanic protesters in Washington that U.S. workers deserved a living wage.
"What we are saying is, enough is enough," said Sanders, who has called for a $15 federal minimum wage.
The New York Times reported that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, would raise state workers' base pay to $15 as well.
'Black work matters'
For these fast-food workers in Harlem, N.Y., the change can't come soon enough.
Many U.S. cities and municipalities have a higher base rate than the federal hourly minimum of $7.25.
NYC $15 per hour by 2018
In New York City, where police guarded the entrance to this Harlem McDonald's, the minimum wage for fast-food workers will rise to $15 by 2018, and will hit that level statewide by 2021.
The move to increase minimum wages in the U.S. has its detractors. Industry lobby groups contend the proposed pay raises would be unsustainable and lead to cut jobs.