Local “Fight for 15” campaign draws moderate turnout in Birmingham

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Across the nation, some 270 Occupy Wall Street-flavored campaigns urging statehouses, local governments and even Congress to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour took place Tuesday.

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders even told protesters assembled outside the U.S. Capitol, “You’re having a profound impact.”

But in downtown Birmingham? Not as much.

According to reports, a crowd of around 30 gathered to stand in solidarity with labor and social justice activists around the nation calling for a higher minimum wage, including Pastor Gwendolyn Webb, a longtime leader of left-leaning movements dating back to the Civil Rights era.

One protester called a $15 hourly wage “number where people can see a future,” where a normal worker can save and plan beyond the paycheck-to-paycheck grind.

Protests also took place Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, where they were joined by workers from the Hyundai plant in Selma.

Don’t expect them to have the same kind of influence they had in New York for instance, where Gov. Mario Cuomo announced Tuesday he will pay all state workers in New York City $15 per hour, and all state workers that amount by 2021, however.

Though Sanders joined in the call for “15 bucks and a union” Tuesday, Alabama is a famously supply-side state, and many blue-collar voters here seem to like that just fine.

GOP leaders who routinely dominate the more labor-friendly Democrats at the ballot box say low taxes, low wages, and less regulation is what makes Alabama – which has had something of a manufacturing renaissance in recent years – competitive against its neighbors for jobs and development.

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