The Fight for $15 wages on SDSU's doorstep

“President Hirshman would pay you $2 an hour if he could.”

Bo Elder
  • Bo Elder

Shortly after 8 a.m. this morning (April 14), approximately 100 people rallied in front of SDSU's East Commons and next to the offices of Aztec Shops in protest of student and other workers’ pay on campus. Many wore red, black, and white shirts that read on the back, “When we unite we win.” Random shouts of encouragement broke out here and there.

Speaking through a megaphone in front of the crowd was Bo Elder, a graduate teaching assistant employed by the university. After firing up the crowd with condemnations of the low wages, Elder led a collective chant: "President Hirshman, you're no good/ pay your workers what you should."

SDSU president Elliot Hirshman

SDSU president Elliot Hirshman

Elder noted the president's $420,000 salary, a figure that drew loud boos. “President [Elliot] Hirshman would pay you $2 an hour if he could,” Elder declared.

He then marched the group up Aztec Walk to Manchester Hall, where, once inside, they chanted several other slogans outside Hirshman's office. After a raucous few minutes, they retreated to the new Prebys Student Union, where they planned a rally for 9 a.m.

Demonstrations started earlier in the morning outside the McDonald's on Montezuma Road. The protest against the company was part of the Fight for $15 movement, which also staged rallies downtown and all over the country on this day. In a preplanned move, the university group had come to support the McDonald’s protesters, many of whom returned the favor by following them back onto campus.

Fight for $15 started against many major fast-food chains in New York in 2012 with rallies to raise the minimum wage. The movement has since expanded to home-care workers and many other industries and would now include the likes of dormitory maintenance and food-service workers on college campuses.

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Even if the $15/hr. wage kicked in today, it's still not a living wage in expensive cities like NYC, San Francisco, LA and San Diego. By the time pay increases to the $15 level, rents will have increased so much that workers will still be struggling. In SF and NYC, you need about $35/hr.

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