Carl Green just couldn't get his head around the idea of people complaining about not getting paid enough.
"I don't know what their problem is," the Coal Valley man said. "Why would you even go out and look for a minimum wage job?"
Mr. Green was among about 40 supporters of U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, who held a counterprotest in Moline on Tuesday.
About 30 others attended a protest organized by Action Now, based in Chicago, to urge Rep. Schilling to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been at $7.25 per hour since 2009. They said they want that rate raised to $10 an hour to make it closer to a "living wage."
Before the protest, Rep. Schilling's office sent a message to supporters stating, "Some astroturf, Chicago-based, rent-a-protesters are getting paid to distort the Bobby Schilling record in a protest scheduled for today. We need you to help us with a counterprotest."
Action Now spokeswoman Veronica Resa said all the protesters in Moline on Tuesday were from Rep. Schilling's 17th District and none were paid to attend.
Action Now has been working to establish a presence in the Quad-Cities. Its Moline protest was part of a day of action across the country in favor of raising the minimum wage. As a candidate, President Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 for raising the minimum wage but has not acted on the issue while in office.
Lorraine Washington traveled from Peoria for the protest. A chef at Embassy Suites in Peoria, she said she makes $8.25 an hour, the minimum wage in Illinois. At home, she has four children and one grandchild.
"It's hard to feed the kids and pay the rent off $8.25 an hour," Ms. Washington said.
Rep. Schilling's supporters brought a sound system mounted on the back of a truck to the protest. When Action Now demonstrators began making their way to Rep. Schilling's office on 41st Street, Rep. Schilling's supporters cranked up the sound and played the national anthem.
For a few minutes, there was a standoff as the two sets of protesters came face-to-face.
"I'll give you $12 an hour if you come over here and pick up a Bobby Schilling sign," Schilling supporter Jerry Schreiner, of Moline, shouted at the Action Now protesters. The Moline business owner said raising the minimum wage now would lead to higher prices for consumers and layoffs for workers.
Marching with the protesters was state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, who said he was "disgusted" Americans who have jobs and work hard still live in poverty.
He joined a small group of protesters to deliver an 800-signature petition to Rep. Schilling's office, asking the congressman to support an increase in the federal minimum wage.
Rep. Schilling was not present and his spokeswoman, Andie Pivarunas, declined to answer questions about his position on the federal minimum wage. A spokesperson for East Moline Democrat Cheri Bustos, Rep. Schilling's opponent, said she supports raising the federal minimum wage.
Many of Rep. Schilling's supporters at Tuesday's protest let it be known that they did not support a higher federal minimum wage. But at least one, Roberta Hanson, of Moline, said she thought the federal rate "probably needs to go up."
Today is Saturday, May 25, the 145th day of 2013. There are 220 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: The annual review of the fire department of this city took placeyesterday and made a fine showing with machines and hose carts in tip-top order. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Last night's prayer meeting at Central Presbyterian Church wascalled off due to water in the basement, residue of last week's flood. 1913 -- 100 years ago: The junior class of Rock Island High School will hold a riverexcursion on the steamer St. Paul next Tuesday. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The 75th Anniversary of the Rock Island Arsenal today finds thenation's largest ordinance manufacturing plant filling many important orders for the army. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Miss Patrice Daly, Rock Island, a senior at Rock Island HighSchool, won second place in the recent state public speaking contest held in Peoria underthe auspices of the Knights of Pythias. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Hampton's sesquicentennial committee and the Hampton HistoricalSociety have scheduled a full slate of activities, which will be held throughout the year, to celebrate the village's 150th birthday. The first celebration will be the Memorial Dayprogram at 10 a.m. May 30, at the Brettun and Black Store Museum on River Road. Therewill be a sesquicentennial display.