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West Virginia residents band together with national leaders in an effort to raise the federal minimum wage

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Charleston, W. Va. - (WVVA) One organization converged on U.S. Senator Joe Manchin's office to convince the senator to push for a raise in federal minimum wage on Monday.

"Sen. Manchin, you can do it. Just listen to the people here."

Those were the cries of low-income workers during the march, who said they are doing their best just to get by.

More than 40 people brought awareness to what they call an issue of unfair wages across the country.

One Fayette County native said raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour wouldn't only benefit workers.

"You have to give people a fair wage to where we can shop in small businesses we can get this economy moving but on the wages we have now we are surviving we are not living," said Pam Garrison.

And she doesn't want the cycle to continue on.

"I've been a minimum wage working my whole life and I've struggled my whole life and know my kids are going into the work force and all there is out there is minimum wage jobs. We're a service nation," said Garrison.

She is a member of the Poor People's Campaign (PPC), who set up a meeting between Senator Joe Manchin's office and low income workers.

Those same workers said they don't feel Manchin was receptive to their remarks.

Jean Evansmore of Fayette County said she feels many senators are out of touch.

"As far as I'm concerned Manchin used to be, but he is not doing his job of taking care of his people here."

The Campaign's co-chair said the senator will be hurting people across the nation if he doesn't agree to raise minimum wage.

"Do not call us essential workers and then don't provide the essential things that we need," said PPC co-chair Rev. Dr. William Barber II.

Though the senator was not in his office, the over 40 plus voices that attended the protest, along with those who participated virtually, said their voices will be heard.

Not only in the state of West Virginia, but nationally.

Senator Manchin did make a statement following his meeting with the Poor People's Campaign previously about an increase in federal minimum wage.

His office released a statement following Monday's march.

"Having grown up in the small coal-mining town of Farmington Senator Manchin understands the challenges facing working West Virginians and small business owners. He appreciated the opportunity to meet with Bishop Barber and members of the Poor People's Campaign to discuss the issues most important to them. As always, he encourages West Virginians to exercise their first amendment right by continuing to reach out to their elected representatives to share their concerns."

Statement from Sen. Manchin's office 2/22/2021

WVVA did reach out to multiple businesses in Fayette County who either said they preferred not making a comment or were not able to do so at the time of deadline for this story.

If you have a story that you would like to share with Tiara Brown, email her at tbrown@wvva.com

Tiara Brown

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