Protesters for a higher minimum wage outside the downtown Dayton McDonald's.
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.
Tracie Franklin has been looking for work for months, and says stagnation and low wages have dominated the last few years.
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.
Ohio's minimum wage is set to increase 30 cents to $7.70 per hour on Jan.1.
The increase is part of a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006, which says minimum wage will increase each year at the rate of inflation. The liberal think tank Policy Matters Ohio says data shows an estimated 347,000 workers will receive wage increases.
The $7.70 rate applies to workers 16 and older who don't get tips. The wage for tipped employees will be $3.85, up 15 cents, but their total pay cannot be less than $7.70 hourly.