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Calls for Winston-Salem to Adopt $15 Family Wage for City Workers

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Faith, community, and labor advocates honor Dr. King by continuing his fight for family wages

50 years after his murder, Winston-Salem community members and Working America - North Carolina continued Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's fight for the full freedom of all working people by calling on the City to follow the lead of Greensboro and other North Carolina municipalities in adopting a $15 per hour family wage for city workers.

“There are city workers here who aren’t making enough to make ends meet, and how it’s a whole city-wide issue.” Our North Carolina Director, Catherine Medlock-Walton at yesterday's rally for family wages for @CityofWS workers #FightFor15#IAM2018

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) April 5, 2018

Watch recorded video of the Facebook Live broadcast from Winston-Salem:

Multiple media outlets attended and reported on the event. Here's a round-up of that coverage.

WXII 12 News: Community members call for higher minimum wage for city workers

Currently, the minimum wage for city workers is about $11 an hour but rally organizers say they want to push the city council to move to make the minimum wage $15 an hour for them.

“They’re the folks who keep our city clean, they pick up the trash, they keep our water clean. They should be able to support their families. They shouldn’t have to struggle to make ends meet,” said Catherine Medlock-Walton, the State Director of Working America.

Working America is a community affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Organizers say they chose to hold this rally in Winston-Salem on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination because Dr. King fought for economic justice as well as social justice.

Spectrum News: City workers, faith leaders ask Winston-Salem to institute $15 minimum wage

City workers and faith leaders made took a stand in Winston-Salem on Wednesday night, asking the city to institute a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Demonstrators say it's about a commitment to a living wage -- for not only people employed by the city -- but for all working people.

“There are city workers here who aren’t making enough to make ends meet, and how it’s a whole city-wide issue. It’s not just the city workers. We need to all come together to talk about raising wages for people in our community,” said Catherine Medlock, Walton Sate director.

Winston-Salem Journal: Rally calls for city of Winston-Salem's workers to get $15 an hour minimum wage

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“It is important to understand that Dr. King gave his life for working people,” said the Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, the pastor of First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue.

Another speaker said it is wrong to “sentimentalize” King.

“We have come today to not only commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ... but to build a movement,” the Rev. John Mendez, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, told the audience. “A commemoration stands still, but a movement moves forward.”

The city of Winston-Salem now has a minimum wage of $11.25 an hour for city workers, but the organizers of the rally want Winston-Salem to do as Greensboro has done, and move toward $15 an hour.