Fight for $15 wage continues in Bay area

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Labor shortages are now being measured in some segments of the U.S. economy, but that has little direct impact on low wage workers rallying in St. Petersburg Thursday morning. 

"New York has just won a big victory in our fight," a fast food worker from Tampa said. "We want to let the Governor here, Rick Scott know that if Governor Cuomo can do it, what's stopping him from doing it?"

He was referring to Wednesday's decision by the New York Wage Board to phase in a $15 an hour minimum wage.  "Fight For 15" is a national movement now sprouting up in Florida. 

Finding supporters is one thing.  Assembling some for a rally is another. 

Organizer Kofi Hunt told FOX 13, "all of our workers who spoke from home care, child care, fast food, they had to be driven here because they don't even have transportation." 

Florida's minimum wage is now $8.05 an hour, or about $320 a week before withholdings. At $15 an hour, the same 40-hour work week would be worth $600. 

"My bills exceed my income" health care worker Sade Reed explained. "Ten more grand a year would be awesome."

Coincidentally, the nation's weekly jobless claims reported Thursday were lowest in 42-years. The unemployment rate is at a seven year low.

Earlier this week the National Association of Business Economics released a survey saying 35-percent of firms reported skilled labor shortages last quarter, compared to the 22-percent that reported skilled labor shortages last year. 

Earlier this month the National Federation of Independent Business said 44-percent of small businesses reported few or no applicants for open positions. All of those statistics suggest greater competition -- and therefore higher wages -- for in demand workers.

But Fight for 15 advocates are relying on political rather than economic pressures. "Not making a livable wage is not OK, and these elected officials need to take action," Reed added. "Just like New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Massachusetts."