Federal workers protest to raise minimum wage

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Low-wage workers from the Pentagon, Reagan Building and the Air and Space Museum gathered in front of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum today in an effort to raise their pay.

The demonstration called action from the president to allow them to unionize so they can collectively bargain for their wages and obtain better working conditions.

According the Associated Press, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez issued a rule to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 in 2013.

However protesters, most of which are mothers, complain that their current earnings of $10.10 an hour is poverty wage. The workers argue that they cannot afford necessities like health care, childcare and educational opportunities for their children.

For Jessenia Vega, a single mother who works at the McDonalds in the Pentagon, "$10.10 is not really enough." Vega said that in addition to paying for childcare, living expenses, and transportation, she helps out her family in Puerto Rico.

Federal workers hope that by unionizing, they would have a say in their pay. Protesters see asking the President to use his executive powers as a potential gateway into the middle class.


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