Low-wage workers take their case to presidential debate

Low-wage workers take their case to presidential debate
© Getty Images

Low-wage employees plan to protest at the second presidential debate of 2016 on Sunday.

As Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports MORE take the stage in St. Louis, more than 1,000 low-wage workers are set to disrupt the debate with calls for a $15 minimum wage. The protest will precede canvassing efforts in swing states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina.


The protesters hope their efforts will rally the 64 million Americans they claim make less than $15 an hour to vote with their pocketbooks in November.

“Candidates at all levels of government need to stand up and take notice: Whether we work in fast-food, child care, home care or higher education, we’re in this together because all workers need a living wage,” said Margaret Phillips, an adjunct instructor at University of Missouri-St. Louis, who will join the protest.

“In St. Louis and at campuses coast to coast, we’re hitting the streets and talking to our co-workers, neighbors and students to make sure politicians hear us at the ballot box,” Phillips said.

The site of the St. Louis protest is significant in that state legislators last year blocked the city from raising the minimum wage, which currently sits at $7.65 an hour.

The protest could put pressure on both nominees to address the issue.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, supports raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour and allowing states and cities to increase it further to $15 an hour. Her position differs slightly from the Democratic National Committee’s platform, which calls for a flat $15 minimum wage across the country.

Trump's position on the minimum wage has fluctuated. The Republican nominee has repeatedly said he would like to boost the economy enough to create jobs and raise wages naturally without relying on the minimum wage.

In July, Trump suggested a $10 federal minimum wage that would allow states to increases wages further as they see fit.

The protest is being organized by the Fight for $15, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union.