66ºF

Dozens protest Orlando's median wage

City ranks No. 99 in nation's top 100 markets

News 6 at Noon
News 6 at Noon

ORLANDO, Fla. – A couple dozen people marched through the streets of downtown Orlando on Labor Day in protest of the city's median wage.

The group held signs with messages, like, "Celebrate labor on Labor Day" and others, that show how Orlando's median wage compares to other cities.

"Being an electrician, our electrician wages here in Orlando are some of the lowest in the United States, and it seems to run across the board for all working people. It's time we got those wages up," said Larry Kidd, who is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Kidd said he joined the rally Monday, because he knows what it's like to do the same job as another electrician in other cities, including many smaller cities than Orlando, yet get paid less for his work.

Out of the top 100 markets, Orlando ranks No. 99 for lowest median wage at $29,781.

"The whole community is affected when we have people working for $9 an hour in wages that compare in other cities to $15 an hour," Kidd said.

"Even scarier is that one in four children born today in this city are going to be born into poverty," said Eric Gray, founder of the "Step Up Against Poverty" movement in Central Florida.

Gray said the group organized the rally to show elected officials that they have backing to fight for higher wages.

"We have the smallest middle class, the highest rate of working poor and one of the highest poverty rates in the community at 18 percent," Gray said.

Gray said the rally is the first step in getting results for the one-third of working adults who earn less than $25,000 per year. 

"Today is our effort to see if we could do it, to see if we could gather people together, that there was enough interest in this community that we could make a little bit of noise and not only with our voices, but with our feet," Gray said.