The Pitt News

Protesters march for $15/hour minimum wage

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

By Zoë Hannah | Assistant News Editor

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For Leslie Bond, the fight for $15 hourly wages is about more than just UPMC workers — it’s about the whole city.

On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., about 500 protesters from the Pittsburgh community rallied in Oakland for the Fight for 15 — an ongoing campaign for the city to commit to increasing hourly wages to $15 per hour to adjust to living expenses. Pitt police and city police barricaded Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues Thursday morning in preparation for the rally, which progressed into a march from Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard to the McDonald’s on Forbes Avenue.

UPMC announced two weeks ago that it would raise its hourly minimum wages to $15 per hour by 2021, but Bond, a representative for the UFCW Local 23 union, said the fight doesn’t stop there.

“We think everyone who works for a living should be able to support their families,” Bond said.

She said UFCW Local 23, which represents workers from Giant Eagle and local liquor stores, came to the rally Thursday to call attention to the continuing fight for living wages in Pittsburgh despite the UPMC win.

“We’ve been involved with the movement to get UPMC to raise wages since the very beginning,” Bond said. “[We want to] raise the floor in Pittsburgh.”

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

The rally included participants from Fight for 15, Pitt graduate students, security guards from U.S. Security Associates and unions from around the city. The protest’s speakers called on the city’s community to increase hourly wages.

For recent Pitt grad and Green Peace worker Eva Resnick-Day, making Pittsburgh a livable city for everyone means increasing hourly wages.

She said she’s lived in the city her whole life, so she cares deeply about the welfare of the community.

“Pittsburgh’s always been my city,” Resnick-Day, who volunteered to direct the march as it progressed down Fifth Avenue, said. “[But] we need a city that works for its people.”

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Protesters march for $15/hour minimum wage