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Brother Can You Spare A Dime: Protesters Plan Rally For $15 Minimum Wage

Minimum wage protest
M Spencer/Associated Press

Protest rally in Chicago. Supporters of increasing the minimum wage are planning a rally Wednesday.

At least 300 low wage workers, activists and students will take part in demonstrations Wednesday at the College of Southern Nevada and UNLV to call for the increase in the minimum wage not just in Nevada but nationwide.

Justin Howard, who graduated from UNLV in 2013 with a degree in anthropology, is organizing the protests in Las Vegas in an effort to get people’s attention to the plight of low-wage workers.

Howard told KNPR’s State of Nevada he had a college degree, but was unable to get a management job in retail, instead working various low-paying retail jobs to make ends meet.

“I was the example of someone struggling to pay his student loans and monthly bills with a low-wage job,” Howard said.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada says the protests in Las Vegas on Wednesday are part of a series of demonstrations planned nationwide.

The idea, according to organizers, is for workers from low-wage industries including fast food, retail and home health care to walk off the job in support of a $15 minimum wage.

The protests at UNLV and CSN will also include adjunct professors, who are calling for $15,000 per course. According to PLAN, this new alliance shows the issue if not just about teenagers working in fast food.

Meanwhile, two proposed constitution changes to Nevada’s minimum wage will not go forward this legislative session. SJR 6 and SJR 8 would have changed Nevada’s constitutionally required minimum wage but both resolutions didn’t receive a committee vote by Friday’s deadline.

SJR 6 sought to repeal the constitutional minimum wage and tie it to the Consumer Price Index. SJR 8 would have raised the wage to $15 an hour.

Workers in Nevada could still see a wage increase. Senate Bill 193 would loosen overtime requirements for employers, while increasing the minimum wage for workers without employer-offered health insurance to $9 an hour.

The minimum wage in Nevada is $8.25 an hour, but the hourly wage can be reduced to $7.25 for employees who are provided a qualifying health plan by their employer.

Justin Howard, student organizer for the minimum wage rallies at UNLV and CSN and UNLV graduate in 2013

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