Neither candidate unconditionally supports a $15 minimum wage, so when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take part in Monday’s first televised debate, a couple thousand fast-food workers plan to be there to remind them of that fact. Fight for $15, the labor group behind the protest, promises “at least” 1,500 workers around the country will travel to Hofstra University to wave big signs on live TV and personally demand a federal living wage and union rights.
Organizing director Kendall Fells explains to the Daily News that they “want candidates on both sides of the aisles to know that the 64 million Americans in this country who make less than $15 an hour represent a very important bloc of voters,” adding that “If these candidates want to get elected, they will support our cause.” Fight for $15 has slowly built up a formidable reputation, too: It’s been instrumental in putting the battle for a living wage on the national radar, and has even become a thorn in McDonald’s side overseas in Europe and Brazil.
Fast-food workers happy to see Bernie Sanders unequivocally back a $15 wage have been less pleased with Clinton, whose somewhat milquetoast support hinges on the wage being “phased in” like New York’s will do — and even that support feels a bit hypothetical, since the official position on her website is to set the federal minimum wage at $12, then encourage urban areas (which can more easily sustain higher wages) to raise theirs above that. Trump’s position, meanwhile, has bounced around even more: A year ago, he argued that “having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country,” then in May announced he’d become “open to raising the federal minimum wage.” More recently, he decided $10 an hour was enough, but with the caveat that the states could set wages “as appropriate for their state.”