It is the fourth anniversary of the last time the United States’ raised the minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is slightly higher at $7.79, but this is below the calculated “living wage” for most Floridian families.
A living wage allows an individual or family to meet basic needs and have a normal standard of living.
To demand higher pay and the living wage, union representatives, politicians and minimum wage airport employees gathered at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport on Wednesday for a rally.
Broward County Commissioner Marty Kiar spoke at the airport after he had experienced a week of living on minimum wage.
Also on the speech schedule was the SEIU Florida director, a representative of 1Miami, and two airport employees who work on minimum wage.
Airport employee March Gatteriau said, “It’s very very impossible for a human to survive with the minimum wage. Like, $7.79. It’s impossible.”
After the speakers, the protesters began a silent march through the four terminals. But airport security stopped them after the second, because according to one security manager, they were blocking regular business.
Despite its abrupt halt, Julio Diaz of 1Miami thought that the protest was a success.
“You know, I think we wanted to make sure the workers presence was really felt and the message was heard and I think in that aspect, it was a great success.”
But he did add that there is still a lot of work to be done at the airport for higher wages.