A coalition of young worker union members, activists and students throughout Florida held a press conference calling for legislative action on issues that will have a direct impact on the future of Florida’s youth on Tuesday.
Among the speakers was Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, who filed the bill to raise minimum wage. He emphasized the requirement to raise wages for the advancement of our young adults.
“In order for Florida to be successful, you need to pay your taxes, in order to pay taxes, you need a job, in order to have a job, you need education,” Bullard said.
The proposals, Senate Bill 456 and House Bill 385, would increase Florida’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all workers.
McDonald’s settled for a $500 million in a wage theft lawsuit spanning several states, such as New York, Michigan and California.
Melanie Andrade, a third year English student from Poinciana, Fla. and former McDonald’s server, believed that wage theft isn’t just an isolated issue.
“We will not be fooled,” Andrade said.
Adetosoye Oladokun, a FAMU graduate student of health science from Washington D.C., said $7.93 is too low compared to other states. In Washington D.C., minimum wage is $9.32.
“If an immigrant is contributing to Florida’s economy, their undocumented children should be granted in-state tuition,” Oladokun said.
On top of the concern of minimum wage, speakers spoke on undocumented youth in Florida being charged out of state tuition.
Student and undocumented citizen in Florida Veronica Perez, a second-year engineering student at Hillsborough Community College from Aburndale, Fla. with the Young American Dreamers, has been living in the U.S for 13 years and struggles with having to pay four times the regular amount to go to college in her home state.
“Unless we make tuition equitable for all students, we are denying a strong investment in our state’s future,” Perez said.
Members of the Student Education Association attended the conference to promote the accountability of educators.
James Harris, a third-year social science education student from Atlanta, enjoyed his experience at the conference with SEA.
“You don’t judge a child’s judgment through testing,” Harris said.
Vanessa Skipper, a Cocoa High School teacher from Brevard County, stressed on the education students deserve.
“Teachers help shape Florida’s future great minds and leaders. Without the basic tools and resources to give students the rich and well-rounded education they deserve, we are doing a disservice to our state,” said Skipper.
The Florida Young Workers urged legislators address all these vital issues and will continue their efforts lobbying their legislators in Tallahassee as well as in their local communities.
“The future is ours. This is our Florida,” Skipper said.