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Pittsburgh workers support 'Fight for $15' during rally

by: Melanie Gillespie Updated:

PITTSBURGH - Thousands of people came together downtown for today’s Labor Day parade, the biggest in the country.  Before that, there was a strong message being sent on the streets of Pittsburgh.

Supporters of the “Fight for $15” rallied on Forbes Avenue in one of the 400 citywide protests planned across the country. They’re calling for $15 an hour wages and union rights.

Kayla Pitzarella is a mother of two with a child on the way.  She says what she brings home is barely enough to support her family.  “Working at minimum wage doesn’t cut it,” Pitzarella said.  "To pay bills and sometimes I have to make a decision on if I’m going to pay these bills or food for my house."


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Lou Berry tells Channel 11 he's one of the original workers who pushed for a union at UPMC, where he's worked for more than a decade.

"It's time for a change.  The largest industry in Pittsburgh needs to set an example that can be followed by other businesses," Berry said. "Definitely let them know we're not going away.  We'll be out here as many times as we need to until they get the message."

Berry banded together with thousands, as they marched through the streets of Pittsburgh, pushing a message that resonates for some on Capitol Hill.

"Thank you for standing with us God bless us, early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was expected to speak at the rally, but could not make it because he was sending the National Guard volunteers to Texas.  He sent a message of support.