Students, Ronald McDonald clash in minimum wage war

Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives
Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives
Photo by Sean Keenan | The Signal Archives

Students and faculty in Library Plaza on April 14 might have noticed a giant Ronald McDonald towering above them.

Students who are part of ATL Raise Up and Atlanta Jobs with Justice, two local organizations endorsing minimum wage increases, held a moving rally to increase awareness of their cause.

April 14 was a nationwide day of action for supporters of the Fight for $15, a nationwide movement set on spiking the minimum hourly earnings to what advocates call a “livable wage.” People in more than 300 cities marched and protested for their cause.

Georgia State student Misty Novich, who helped orchestrate the on-campus rally, said she supports minimum wage increases because they would allow people to live above the poverty line.

“We’re pushing for a living wage, rather than a minimum wage,” she said. “People should be able to work a job and get their basic needs met, work in dignity and not live in fear and despair.”

According to the Census Bureau, more than 45 million people in the United States live at or below the poverty line. This year New York and California’s State legislature approved plans to raise their minimum wages to $15 by 2022.

Georgia’s current minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, $2.05 lower than the federal minimum and among the lowest in the nation.

Novich and fellow protesters passed out flyers with the phrase “$5.15 is a joke so go vote” on them, urging students to take action.

“The whole point of a minimum wage is to combat the tendency of bosses wanting to pay you as little as possible,” Novich said. “$5.15 is obviously not enough.”

The Fight for $15 movement has been making waves across the country and the state, with a number of prominent leaders endorsing the substantial hike in wages. Georgia Democratic State Sen. Vincent Fort has backed initiatives and marched with protesters to support the increase.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has also promised to push for legislation to bump the wages nationwide. Sanders’ primary race competitor, Sec. Hillary Clinton also said she’d be on board to sign such a bill.