Feature Photo: Fight for $15

Xiaoqian Zhu

Students protest outside City Hall on Tuesday to call for a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour and protection of the right to unionize. The protesters stood in solidarity with demonstrators throughout Ohio, including in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.

“Currently, 14.6 percent of Lorain County’s population lives in poverty, and 9,900 people in Lorain County moved into the federally defined poverty level between 2007 and 2009. In the state of Ohio, 15.8 percent of the citizenship lives in poverty, [and] 79 out of 88 counties in Ohio have poverty rates higher now than they were in 1999,” said Jeeva Muhil, College junior and student organizer for the protest.

Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.10 an hour, 85 cents higher than the federal rate. As the Fight for $15 movement began calling for minimum wage hikes about in 2012, many states throughout the country have increased their minimum wage.

The protesters attempted to call attention to time-surveillance measures that the College is trying to impose on dining and facility workers, despite opposition from the United Auto Workers. The UAW originally gained traction at Oberlin when administrators implemented a similar performance management program in the 1990s.

“It allowed [the College] to cut down the labor force and speed up the amount of work that workers were doing so the same amount of work can get done,” Muhil said.