Workers stage Tax Day rallies for minimum wage hike - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Workers stage Tax Day rallies for minimum wage hike

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diegans were part of the largest worker strike across the nation Wednesday. And, for the first time it's more than just fast food workers rallying for a $15 per hour wage.

Organizers with Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West said adjunct professors, home care workers, Walmart employees and others will join the job actions.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. But protesters say they're putting on the pressure to raise wages now because they can't feed their families.

"It can be stressful. There's times I have to choose between my rent, gas and electric bill or my phone bill," said mother Cymone Fillmore.

Economists report that raising the pay to $15 an hour could create higher prices for goods and possibly job loss. That's because the recession led to fierce competition for employment and many jobs, once thought to be for younger workers, are targeted by applicants of any age.

Tax Day was chosen for the rallies because many of the workers make so little money that they rely on government assistance to get by, according to the SEIU-USWW.

Strikes and rallies took place in 200 U.S. cities.

In San Diego, security officers demonstrated at 11 a.m. outside Symphony Towers at 750 B St.

Other job actions were held at 7 a.m. at a McDonald's restaurant at 2345 El Cajon Blvd.; at 8:30 a.m, at a Sonic Drive-in, 2829 El Cajon Blvd.; at noon at the State Building, 1350 Front St.; and at 1:30 p.m. at the City Heights/Weingart Library, 3795 Fairmount Ave.

Two afternoon events were scheduled to take place at San Diego State University. At 3:30 p.m., home care workers will rally on Campanile Mall, between the Music Building and Open Air Theatre. At 4:30 p.m., a rally will be held for all types of workers on the Scripps Lawn near Hepner Hall.

Fast-food workers began calling for hourly pay of $15 more than two years ago in New York City. Since then, a minimum wage of $15 an hour has been adopted in cities like Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.

In San Diego, the issue will be up for a vote in the June 2016 primary election. Voters will decide if workers are paid $11.50 an hour.


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