Orlando Legislators Take the Minimum Wage Challenge

October 9, 2015

A number of labor groups and Democrats hosted a rally recently at Sedano’s Supermarket in Orlando in order to show support for a significant raise in minimum wage.

They gathered in support of an increasingly popular bill that proposes a $15 minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.05. Other large cities across the nation have already implemented an increase to $15 per hour, including Seattle, New York City, and San Francisco. However, Central Florida may turn out to be a harder sell. Osceola County just recently voted against an increase to $10.66.

Wages across the nation have not been on track with inflation for some time now. As inflation rises, the minimum wage becomes less and less what is considered to be a “living wage.” During the rally, three legislators in Central Florida promised to spend only $17 or less per day for a week on food and other basics (excluding fixed cost such as housing) in order to better understand the day-to-day struggles a typical minimum wage employee may face.

They are calling it the “Minimum Wage Challenge” and are encouraging everyone to try it. “I already support $15 per hour and I understand the problem, but it’s one thing to read about this and another thing to actually experience it,” said Sen. Geraldine Thompson when she pledged her participation during the Sedano’s Supermarket rally.

At least 15 more legislators have joined the Minimum Wage Challenge since the rally, and continue to challenge others to participate.

However, not everyone is in support of such a high increase. Some opposition have raised concerns that an increase of that size would cause prices to skyrocket, thereby causing more problems than there are now.

The “Fight for $15” national movement is being headed by Service Employees International Union, which represents 55,000 employees in Florida and 2.1 million nationally.

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