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Where Does Nevada's Effort To Get A $15 Minimum Wage Stand?

fast_food_protests.jpg

Associated Press

Fast food workers rally outside McDonald's for a minimum wage hike in 2014. Where does the effort stand today?

Some of Las Vegas’s lowest paid workers took to the streets Thursday to ask for a raise.

Fast-food, home care, and childcare workers are asking Governor Brian Sandoval to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

This isn’t the first time low-wage workers have protested here. But are lawmakers and middle-class workers receptive to their message?

Laura Martin with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada told KNPR's State of Nevada that the protest are having "a really big impact." 

She pointed to decisions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York state to raise the minimum wage.

In Nevada, State Sen. Tick Segerblom introduced a bill to increase the state's minimum wage, Martin said.

"This is a movement that has really sparked across the country but is also empowering low wage workers here to make changes at the state level," she said. 

Martin said if the country continues to create jobs in the service and retail industries, which have traditionally been low paying jobs, that those workers are making "just enough money to be broke."

Those workers then turn to social safety nets like welfare and food stamps to make ends meet, she said. 

Some companies have said that raising the minimum wage will make it too expensive to run their business and they will have to lay people off, which is an argument Martin dismissed.

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"I think that we have to remember that companies like McDonalds who may or may not think its too expensive to pay their workers $15 an hour pay their CEO $10,000 an hour," Martin said. "So, we really have to ask ourselves what's more offensive."

Martin said $15 and hour is what most economists said minimum wage should be at, if it had kept up with inflation; however, she said Clark County's should be closer to $16. 

 

Guests

Laura Martin, associate director, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

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