Protesters rallied outside the Walmart in St. Paul’s Midway on the morning of Black Friday, calling on Walmart and the City of St. Paul to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Cardell McKizzie, who is 17 and works at the McDonald’s in the Midway, came to the rally to support the fight for $15 in St. Paul.
“When people are only making $9 or $10 an hour, they have to work two or three jobs,” he said. “That means less time with the family, less time with the kids. I wish I could do simple things like go to the movies, I’d love that. But I have to help support my family. We all have to help. And our paychecks now barely do anything.”
Lennox Thornswood, who makes less than $15 an hour working retail, echoed the sentiment. “I had a personal emergency a few months ago that emptied my savings,” she said. “After that I couldn’t afford to eat more that once a day. I need $15 so I can afford to eat every meal of the day.”
The movement for $15 in St. Paul includes labor unions, fast food and retail workers, nonunion workers from diverse industries, students, faith communities, and a broad array of community supporters. New data from the Metropolitan Council shows that 40.8 percent of St. Paul currently lives in poverty, with 1 in 4 St. Paul jobs paying under $15 an hour. The Midway is home to many businesses paying poverty wages, including Walmart.
Thomas Stockstill works at the Herbergers in Midway, within eyeshot of the Walmart. “I work at the Herbergers here, but I had to take a second job just to get by. I live in a shoebox apartment,” he told the crowd through a megaphone. “We need 15, bottomline.”
In July, Minneapolis passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 for all employees, phased in over five to seven years depending on size of employer. In September, Target announced that they are raising wages for all employees to at least $15 an hour nationwide by 2020. The Minneapolis policy will give 71,000 workers a raise and Target’s policy will raise wages for a majority of their nearly 500,000 employees.

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