Montgomery County, Maryland, residents and officials gathered Tuesday night to speak out on a measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
The meeting was part of a national day of action for low-paid workers across the country. About 25 protesters were arrested in lower Manhattan, New York, after linking arms and sitting in the street.
Sharon Del Cid said the cost of living is too much in Montgomery County. She has no college degree and said she makes about $9 per hour at a bakery.
“We work so hard, and we don't receive the kind of money that we need for live here,” Del Cid said. “I’m going to live better.”
Del Cid, along with other low income workers, labor union and civil rights groups, had a vigil outside the Montgomery County Council Office Building. They want the council to pass a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2020.
Del Cid said she spends most of her paycheck on rent, food and transportation, and a raise to $15 per hour would help. Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro said childcare costs are too high.
“We have to do something,” Navarro said.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett raised some questions about the $15 per hour minimum wage. He's concerned it could possibly put the county at a disadvantage and questioned if the county can afford the rate.
Some small business owners said they can't afford to pay $15 an hour to their employees.
“We will have some possible amendments that will address some of those issues,” Navarro said.
The county council is expected to vote next month.