Low-wage workers across the country protest and strike, demanding $15 minimum wage

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Demonstrators participate in the "Fight for $15" wage protest at San Diego International Airport, also known as Lindbergh Field, in San Diego, California, U.S. November 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSTWFE

Demonstrators participate in the “Fight for $15” wage protest at San Diego International Airport, also known as Lindbergh Field, in San Diego, California, U.S. November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake – RTSTWFE

Low-wage workers across the country are protesting and striking in a coordinated effort labeled the Fight for $15 “day of disruption” on Tuesday. Fast-food workers, airport employees, health aides, child care workers and Uber drivers are demanding a $15 minimum wage and union rights.

Protests took place at Logan International Airport in Boston and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, while Uber drivers stayed home or idled their cars.

More than 100 people have been arrested thus far, reported USA Today. California police arrested 27 people in Oakland for blocking streets and sidewalks, and in New York, another 26 protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, according to CNN Money. The arrested protesters in Oakland and New York have since been released. Protesters were also arrested in Detroit and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour and was last raised in 2009. Twenty-nine states have since raised their state minimum wages above the federal level.

Many businesses and conservative think tanks still resist minimum wage hikes, and Congress is unlikely to take up the issue any time soon. Economist Mike Perry of the conservative American Enterprise Institute argues that minimum wage increases hurt the low-wage workers it’s supposed to help, as business will be forced to hire fewer workers or reduce hours to make up for the artificial increase in costs.

Still, there is growing support to raise the minimum wage. On Election Day, voters in four states passed minimum wage increases. Since 2000, every ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage has passed.

And a poll conducted by Republican pollster Frank Luntz found that 80 percent of business executives now support an increase in the minimum wage.

Prior to the election, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supported raising the minimum wage. While Clinton is in favor of raising it to $12 an hour and $15 an hour in certain cities and counties, President-elect Trump is in favor of raising it to $10 an hour.

A number of prominent Democratic lawmakers came out today in support of the Fight for $15, including former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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