Organizers and protestors chant in support of laborers during a Labour Walkout event in Des Moines on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. Organizations in support of laborers across Iowa such as Service Employees International Union, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Democratic Socialists of America participated in the rally. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Brief: Labor organizers protest labor laws in Des Moines

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Labor union organizers along with numerous pro-labor organizations gathered in Des Moines today to support an increased minimum wage of $15.

By Ben Smith

benjamin-a-smith@uiowa.edu

DES MOINES — Workers and union organizers converged on the State Capitol today in support of an increased minimum wage.

The Service Employee International Union along with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Democratic Socialists of America joined in “Iowa: Fight for 15,” the campaign to increase the minimum wage for workers across the state.

Iowa’s minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, and the state Legislature approved legislation barring counties from setting wages higher than the state’s minimum earlier this year.

Workers and organizers started the day off at 6 a.m. outside numerous fast-food restaurant locations. Rally members were met with resistance from police and counter-protesters.

Cathy Glasson, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and president of SEIU Local 199, spoke to the rally about the importance of unions, raising the minimum wage, and health care. She outlined her stance on the current Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican.

“The majority of Iowans don’t want what they’re doing in rolling back minimum wage, making it harder to join a union, the terrible things that this Legislature and governor have done,” Glasson said.

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Jake Laun, a graduate of Ankeny High School who attended the rally, said he was there to support workers’ rights to earn a higher minimum wage than is currently offered in Iowa.

He said the protest advocated for all workers in the labor industry, not just those backed by local labor unions.

“It’s not only fast-food workers, it’s hospital workers, it’s all jobs out there that are making less than $15,” Laun said. “It’s a collective effort for everyone as far as getting a fair shot at $15 even.”

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