CLEVELAND — Cleveland was one of nearly 100 cities Monday, where the Service Employees International Union held rallies in support of immigrants, including those who are undocumented.
More than 200 demonstrators held a rally at the Free Stamp near City Hall Monday afternoon before marching to Public Square. The event’s sponsors included immigrant rights organizations and SEIU Local 1, whose members include janitors, security officers and food service workers.
Mary Kay Henry, SEIU’s international president, said rallies were held in Cleveland and other cities because many immigrant workers and their families are living in fear of deportation.
“Unions have always worked for things like the minimum wage, the eight-hour work day, paid vacation and personal days, the weekend, we understood we were not just getting these things for our dues paying members,” said Sandra Ellington, a Cleveland janitor and member of SEIU Local 1, who spoke at the rally. “These things impacted all workers. These gains were not only things in the past though. Unions continue to work to improve the lives of all workers – not just those who belong to unions. We are here today to fight for a better life for everyone.”
On Public Square Monday evening, Cleveland’s Fight for $15 movement, which is backed by SEIU, held a rally in support of raising the minimum wage to $15. The group had sought to have Cleveland voters decide on raising the minimum wage to $15 in the city, but later withdrew their petition after strong opposition from city leaders and state legislators. Cleveland currently does not have a minimum wage. Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.15 an hour.