STATEWIDE MINIMUM WAGE CAMPAIGN MUST FIGHT FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS-Andrew Stelzer

04/12/04

A grassroots campaign to raise Florida’s minimum wage has now been forced to take on another cause—protecting citizen’s rights to amend the Florida’s constitution. Today, about 30 people gathered in front of a government services building on Tampa Street; Denise Hilton is an organizer for ACORN, a group that organizes people in low-income neighborhoods to become advocates for causes that are important to their lives. ACT “We have starving children….no Medicare�

Many of the young people at the protest agreed that the low minimum wage is leading their friends and relatives into a life of crime. ACT “Our young people these days are trying

TRAVIS is an organizer with ACORN, he’s gathering signatures to try and raise the minimum wage from 5.15 to 6.15 per hour. ACT “The minimum wage hasn’t been raised in over 20 years.

Ruth has a 1 year old son, she says the current minimum wage is so low its contributing to the breakdown of families and entire communities. ACT “Its really hard these days to raise a family….�

But their campaign must now take on another cause—fighting the state legislatures proposal to change the initiative process. Proposed changes which may be on the ballot as early as August 31st would change the requirements for a citizens initiative to change the state constitution; in order to pass, an amendment would need 60 percent approval instead of 50 percent. Hilton says it’s an attack on the democratic process. ACT “We need 50 percent, now they’re trying to change it on us…�

Hilton says that she believes the grassroots campaign will succeed if the people of Florida realize the influence they have—when they use it. ACT “We poor people have more power than rich people…�

ACORN will be going to Tallahassee later this week to continue their campaign. They need to collect almost 500,000 thousand signatures by August to get the minimum wage initiative on the ballot. For More information, call 727-692-7215 or go to www.floridiansforall.org

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