Workers rally for higher wages

- Bay Area workers participated in a National Day of Action event targeting minimum wage and union rights Tuesday.

Dozens of people showed up for a strike, holding signs and chanting off 62nd Avenue N in St. Petersburg.

"I take care of families, day in and day out, but I can't take care of my own," Lianne Flakes said. "I have to have a roommate because I can't afford to pay my bills off what I make, so I'm here to fight to get the wages raised so we can do what's necessary to take care of our families as we take care of other people’s families."

Home and child care workers and fast food employees marched from Tampa City Hall to the county center Tuesday afternoon.

Tampa and St. Petersburg are two of 20 cities in Florida with events scheduled for the November 10 "Fight for 15" National Day of Action.

"It makes no sense that folks in the 21st century have to decide between food, water and shelter at the end of the month," Ashley Green said.

The campaign seeks to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour. Currently, minimum wage in Florida is $8.05 and the federal minimum wage is $7.25.

"If I had the opportunity I would be doing maintenance, I would be doing HVAC repair. I have a degree in that. I went to technical school for that. It would be good for me to able to find work in that field," said Carlton Alexander, a fast food worker participating in his first strike.  "Currently I haven't been able to. I have been here since January.  I moved to Tampa from Georgia. It has been kind of rough. This has been the only job I have been able to find on such short notice, working for Taco Bell."

Supporters have argued raising minimum wage could help reduce poverty by increasing money for low-income workers. Some say, if people have more money, they will spend and boost the economy.

Opponents have argued higher wages reduce business profits, lead to more unemployment, and the cost of paying more money to workers could be passed to consumers.

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