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Senate Walk Out Staged by Service Workers Over $15 Wage

Image: Senate Walk Out Staged by Service Workers Over $15 Wage
Protesters advocate for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, as part of a 'Fight for $15' rally on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. on April 22, 2015. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 07:07 AM

Cafeteria, janitorial, and other food service workers in the U.S. Senate staged a 40-person walkout Wednesday morning in a bid to raise their pay to $15 an hour.

"Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating 'opportunity' for workers and helping our kids achieve the 'American dream' — most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive," Bertrand Olotara, a cook at the cafeteria, wrote in The Guardian (U.K.) in an article published concurrently with the walkout.

Olotara said he currently makes $12 an hour, which is more than the $10.10 an hour President Barack Obama required of federal contractors when he signed an executive order in February.

The strike was scheduled to coincide with the contract renewal of Olotara's employer, Compass Group, a multinational corporation headquartered in the U.K.

CNN reported that the 40 workers joined more than 1,000 labor activists at a rally calling on  Obama and Congress to sign a "Model Employer Executive Order" that would give contracting preference to companies that pay their workers $15 an hour.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and self-described socialist, joined the rally, along with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

"What we are saying today is pretty simply, that the taxpayers of this country want to make sure that when government contracts are made, those employers who get those contracts pay workers a living wage," Sanders said at the rally.

Cheryl Queen, vice president of Compass Groups USA, said in a statement that "its contracts with the United States Senate and the Capitol Visitors Center are in full compliance with the ... wage and benefits provisions within the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA)."

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Cafeteria, janitorial, and other food service workers in the U.S. Senate staged a 40-person walkout Wednesday morning in a bid to raise their pay to $15 an hour.
senate, walk, out, service, workers
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2015-07-23
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 07:07 AM
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