San Diego minimum wage workers ‘Fight for 15’

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) –  Millions of people all over the country will be heading to the polls to vote in national and local elections one year from Tuesday.

And there may be a whole new sector of voters out there, minimum wage workers.

There was a one-day strike by those workers Tuesday in more than 200 cities and San Diego was one of them. 

The workers are striking for, "Fight for 15," as in $15 an hour.

It is apparently within these workers’ rights to strike for one day, if it’s in an effort to get better wages or to organize.

And they are going right to the top with their demands. They are calling on lawmakers and politicians running for office to raise the minimum wage.

They stood outside and inside fast food restaurants downtown like Jack in the Box and Burger King where several of the day strikers work.

Cymone Fillmore is one of them.

She’s the only one with a job in her family. Her husband has epilepsy and frequent seizures. Sometimes it’s hard to pay their rent.

"There’s times when I can’t go to work because he can’t care for our daughter and himself during those times. Me missing work it’s a whole days pay," she said.

Teachers, janitorial staff, home care workers joined fast food employees in their march, their pride driving them down the sidewalk. 

Business owners dealt with a statewide increase from $8 to $9 an hour last year and they are preparing for another jump to $10 an hour starting in January. 

Critics say raising the minimum wage would raise the cost of labor and lead to a loss of jobs, but many say there is no evidence jobs would be lost if people are paid more.

The San Diego Chamber of Commerce points out the new loss income tax credit for families and their efforts to work with companies that hire those without college degrees.

These minimum wage workers who may unionize are a huge voting pool if they vote. But those who are fighting for $15 said they will head to the polls next November.

This worked in other states.

Word that the mayors of Pittsburgh and New York City have agreed to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in those cities.

And here, there is a measure heading to the ballot next November to raise the wage from $10 to $11.50 an hour.

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