A protest is coming to the Dayton Walmart on York Commons Wednesday as part of a week of protests and employee walkouts at Walmart stores around the country. Walmart workers and supporters of a living wage increase by the retail giant will be joined by State Rep. Connie Pillich (D-28). She believes an across-the-board wage boost would help struggling families.
“We’re talking about a living wage,” says Pillich. “We’re making sure that people at Walmart and other places in Ohio, can earn enough money and get enough work hours to support their families.”
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are getting a raise starting in the New Year. The state’s minimum wage will go up ten cents from $7.85 an hour to $7.95 an hour. The automatic boost comes from a policy known as indexing, which Ohio has adopted along with 11 other states. Indexing raises the minimum wage to account for increases to the cost of living.
Jack Temple, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, says the extra ten cents an hour can go a long way.
Protests demanding a raise in the minimum wage have been spreading across the country, and the movement made its way to Dayton for the first time. On Thursday, union-backed groups reported events in over 100 cities; some involved worker walk-outs, but many were protests or demonstrations in front of fast food and retail outlets.
Outside the McDonald’s in downtown Dayton around lunchtime, a small crowd gathered near the road, rallying drivers to honk in support. The protesters’ complaint: Ohio’s minimum wage of $7.85 isn’t enough to actually live on.
Unemployment numbers are out for August, and Ohio’s rate was right in line with the national rate of 7.3 percent. But while the U.S. unemployment rate went from above 8 percent in August 2012 to 7.3 percent in August 2013, the state numbers actually ticked up slightly from last month and last year.