Panthers push for a $15 minimum wage

Picketers rallied at the Fight for $15 event on April 15. Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives
Picketers rallied at the Fight for $15 event on April 15. Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives
Picketers rallied at the Fight for $15 event on April 15.
Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives

Three Georgia State grad students are gathering support around campus to increase the nationwide minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Larance Carter, Isaac Davis and Misty Novitch are working with ATL Raise Up, a local partner of the national “Fight for $15” movement as part of a community project in an effort to obtain a master’s degree.

Carter said the group chose this project to promote self-sufficiency for American citizens and their families.

“It is a core American belief that people should be able to take care of themselves and their families with their own efforts and that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. However, this is not the case when it comes to low-wage workers,” he said. “We believe it is a part of our many duties as social workers to be advocates for these individuals.”

The Fight for $15 began on Nov. 29, 2012, when 200 fast food workers went on strike in New York to protest minimum wage.

Since then, fast food workers and others of low-income status — think health care professionals and adjunct professors — across the nation have joined the cause.

Georgia’s current minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, one of the lowest in the nation, and $2.05 lower than the federal minimum wage. Senate Bill 15, also called the minimum wage bill, was introduced during the 2015 legislative session and purposed to raise Georgia’s minimum wage to $10.10. However, the bill did not pass.

Seattle and San Francisco have already passed laws raising wages to $15 over the next couple of years.

The group’s main focus on Georgia State’s campus is to build support and increase awareness. Their work with the Fight for $15 project involves gathering signatures of students who support the movement, giving presentations and hosting an event. So far, they’ve amassed 268 signatures, according to Carter.

“Our work at Georgia State is pure social advocacy with justice for the disenfranchised as the overarching theme,” Carter said. “The main point of all this is to create pressure against institutions, such as large corporations or conservative politicians, which we believe stand in the way of our solutions, which is raising the minimum wage, redistributing resources and promoting economic justice.”

President and CEO of the Greater Macon of Commerce. Mike Dyer, said a minimum wage increase could create a ripples effect of problems in the marketplace, according to The Macon Telegraph.

“It would just make our tasks that much more difficult in creating jobs and growing the economy,” he said. “The cost will go up for everybody and then of course who’s going to pay for that? The taxpayers.”

Georgia State student Chloe Veal said she’s definitely an advocate for a minimum wage increase because it would make her work life easier.

“I work two jobs, one pays an $8 hourly wage and the other pays off of tips, but not everyone believes in tipping,” Veal said. “Raising the minimum wage would help because I wouldn’t have had to get the second job if I was making enough with the first.”

“We must do all what is within our power to fight for the social and economic justice of the disenfranchised, but particularly low wage workers,” Carter said. “This fight is not just about our communities, but our future.”

Carter, Davis and Novitch are hosting an event on April 5 in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies with a panel of low-wage workers telling their stories followed by an open dialogue about the Fight for $15 campaign.