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Outside Debate Hall, Unions Say Economy Is Primary Issue

Frank Franklin II
Protesters gather before the presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Monday.

Union members gathered outside the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Long Island Monday night to demand help for the working and middle class.

Richard Grimes of Hartford, Connecticut, says he doesn’t care who wins the debate as long as they consider increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“I cannot even afford health care. I cannot afford to have a place to stay – it’s not good enough for rent.”

Grimes says many people who earn a minimum wage are forced to work several part time jobs at a time just to survive.  

“I try to pick up extra jobs. I cannot do that because I cannot balance one job with another. It's actually really difficult. One job that pays $15 an hour will definitely, definitely do justice.”

Construction and transportation union members also called for more job opportunities that would help strengthen the economy and protect the environment.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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