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Labor Day Protesters Call Out Gov. Rauner

A rally outside a McDonald's in Chicago is one of many to be held Monday around the state. (
A rally outside a McDonald's in Chicago is one of many to be held Monday around the state. (
September 4, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Low-wage workers are walking off the job this Labor Day and calling out Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for his veto of a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Members of Fight for $15 and the Service Employees International Union are holding rallies Monday in Chicago and other Illinois cities to demand higher pay.

Aiesha Meadows McLaurin, a mother and fast-food worker, is skipping work Monday to protest, even though she says she needs the hours.

McLaurin says she's trying to make a better life for herself and her family and has enrolled in college and joined the Army National Guard, but still can't make ends meet.

"At the end of the day, I'm 25 with my own family,” she relates. “I shouldn't have to depend on the government's assistance. I shouldn't have to depend on other people to take care of me."

In vetoing the wage hike last month, Rauner said the increase was too steep and will likely hurt the very people it seeks to help.

Illinois' minimum wage is currently $8.25 an hour.

The decision has incensed members of the Fight for $15 movement, which have started to share messages on social media labeled #VetoRauner. The governor is up for re-election in 2018.

Another fast-food worker, Robert Page, says the governor's veto impacts 2.3 million people just like him.

"Yes, it's bad,” he stresses. “I can barely afford anything, especially after taxes. So much of my paycheck is gone."

Protests in Illinois are part of a wave of strikes by cooks and cashiers to hit 300 cities across the country.

Also Monday in Chicago, union workers are marching on the American Hospital Association, demanding employees have more union representation.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL