CLEVELAND – Some Ohio fast-food workers planned on taking part in a nationwide strike Tuesday over low wages.
Ohio’s minimum wage of $8.10 an hour is higher than the federal minimum wage, but according to Deb Kline of Cleveland Jobs with Justice, it leaves many families scraping to get by.
“There are many low-wage workers that not only work one 40-hour-a-week job, but then go and work another part-time job,” she says. “It’s a sad situation in our country when somebody is forced to work two and three jobs in order to make ends meet.”
Protests are planned at more than 270 locations nationwide, in what some say could be the largest strike ever to hit the fast-food industry. Some workers from other traditionally low-wage fields, including childcare, home-care and farming, also plan to strike. Opponents of raising the wage say it would hurt businesses and result in job losses.
An estimated 64 million Americans are paid less than $15 an hour, and political analysts say they could make up a powerful voting bloc. Kline says the push for a higher wage will pick up steam heading into the presidential election year.
“We need to get behind all of the low-wage workers,” she says. “Fast-food, home healthcare, and show them that we care and that we support them. We need to build this momentum here in Ohio, as well as across the country, especially going into 2016.”
The Ohio Ballot Board recently approved language for a 2016 constitutional amendment that would gradually phase in a higher, state minimum wage – but one that would only reach $12 an hour by 2021.