Bernie Sanders, State Rep. Gillard host ‘Rally 4 Raise the Wages’ in Charleston

Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 10:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2023 at 1:35 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State Representative Wendell Gilliard and Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders hosted a ‘Rally to Raise the Wages’ Saturday afternoon in Charleston.

Hundreds of people gathered to listen to Gilliard, Sanders and others discuss why they are calling on state and federal officials to raise minimum wage in America.

“Charlestonians work hard and deserve more for what that do to keep this region running,” Gilliard says. “They deserve more than the minimum wage; they deserve a living wage.”

The last time federal minimum wage was raised was back in 2009 to $7.25 per hour.

Gilliard and Sanders are asking lawmakers to raise that number to $17 an hour federally.

“What living paycheck to paycheck is, is about more than the money; it is so powerful to stress people out and cause anxiety day after day,” Sanders says.

Other speakers at the event included those impacted by minimum wage in South Carolina, such as Lydia Stewart who makes $10.50 an hour working at a Great Clips in Columbia.

She shared with the crowd how the job offers no paid time off, no sick leave or maternity leave.

“We are all tired of being underpaid, mistreated and overlooked,” Stewart says.

South Carolina law prohibits local governments to raise minimum wage unless the federal minimum wage is changed.

A national study conducted in April found that a majority of Americans support raising the deal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Living minimum wage is not a far-left idea or a far-right idea. It’s a moral issue, it’s human rights issue, it’s a love your neighbor issue,” Activist, Rev. William Barber, says.

The event was the final stop in Sanders and Barber’s rallies to raise the wage where the duo stopped in Durham and Nashville earlier this month.

“We are here to say that the minimum wage in America, in South Carolina, can no longer be a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour. That is absurd,” Sanders says.