With chants and songs, protesters fighting for a $15 living wage and a union took over Orlando’s Orange Avenue as they marched toward City Hall.
The Orlando rally joined other protests across the country on Tuesday highlighting the struggles of workers to put food on the table and make ends meet with Florida’s minimum wage, which is at $8.05 per hour. The city of Orlando has the lowest median wage among the top 50 American metropolitan areas.
Florida Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, Sen. Darren Soto and state Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando attended the rally representing the Florida Legislature. Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph was the only official from the local governments who attended the rally. Congressional District 9 candidate Susannah Randolph made speeches at the two strike lines held earlier that day at 6 a.m. at the McDonald’s on South Semoran Boulevard at 6 a.m. and at a McDonald’s in Kissimmee at noon.
“We live in the greatest country in the world and far too many of us are losing that American dream” said Soto “People are working 40-50 hours a week, yet they’re living in poverty...Sí se puede!”
Torres and State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, recently filed two bills, HB109 and SB6, in the Florida Legislature respectively to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Any Domínguez, who’s earning $8.20 per hour after working at Taco Bell for 15 years, brought three of her four children to the rally. Domínguez, who is the main provider in her family, says she’s trying to become a manager to earn higher wages.
“There is some pushback if you’re involved with the movement, like less hours or they give you longer breaks,” she says. “But you do what you gotta do. I don’t want my children to struggle.”