On April 9, one day before the Minnesota House followed the Senate and passed a raise in the state minimum wage, marchers rallied in Sartell to hold corporations like Walmart and McDonald's to higher standards of pay and conditions for the minimum wage workers at their stores.
The Community-wide March Against Low Wages in Central Minnesota was sponsored by the Greater Minnesota Worker Center and the Higher Ground Church of God in Christ.
"We work and work and work and work," declared Jama Alimad, board member of the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, "but we become poorer and poorer and poorer."
"It's so important that these companies, these corporations, that make billions of dollars off of us understand how this effects the life of their employees," said Alisha Williams, a low wage worker and student at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Williams is a former employee of both Walmart and McDonald's.
Other speakers pointed out that low wages are not just a problem in the big metropolitan areas and that resulting poverty also plagues areas like central Minnesota.
A delegation including Williams visited a nearby Walmart and McDonald's to speak with store managers and deliver a letter outlining demands that the corporations raise wages immediately, be more flexible in scheduling including paid sick days, and other issues. They also invited each manager to attend a poverty simulation to take place at St. Cloud Technical and Community College later this year.