Fast-food protesters cuffed at higher-pay rallies

Police handcuffed dozens of protesters who blocked traffic in dozens of cities across the country on Thursday in their latest attempt to escalate efforts to get McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay employees at least $15 an hour.
AP Wire
Sep 5, 2014

The protests, which were planned by labor organizers for about 150 cities nationwide throughout Thursday, are part of a campaign called "Fight for $15."

Since the efforts began in late 2012, organizers have switched up their tactics every few months to bring attention to the protests, which have attracted spotty crowds. Organizers previously said they planned to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience on Thursday, which they predicted might lead to arrests.

In New York, 19 people were arrested on Thursday for blocking traffic, with at least three people wearing McDonald's uniforms taken away by police officers after standing in the middle of a busy street near Times Square. About two dozen protesters were detained in Detroit after they wouldn't move out of a street near a McDonald's restaurant. Others were apprehended by police in Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Denver.

In Milwaukee, Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was taken away in handcuffs by police for blocking traffic at a McDonald's.

"I take great pride in supporting Milwaukee workers as they risk arrest in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for their families," Moore said in a statement through her communications director, Eric Harris.

Tyree Johnson also was among those hauled away in Chicago. Johnson earns $8.45 an hour after working at a Chicago McDonald's for more than two decades. "I've been there 22 years and I can't help my family," he said.

The "Fight for $15" campaign, which is backed financially by the Service Employees International Union and others, comes at a time when the wage gap between the poor and the rich has become a hot political issue. Many fast-food workers do not make much more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which adds up to about $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week.

The protests have not resulted in workers getting higher wages, but it has gotten media coverage. In Chicago, for instance, reporters observed supporters arriving on buses and sitting on a street between a McDonald's and Burger King, chanting: "We shall not be moved."

"The impact is in bringing it into the public attention," said Chris Rhomberg, an associate professor of sociology at Fordham University in New York.

President Barack Obama has taken notice too. He mentioned the campaign at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee. "If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, I'd join a union," Obama said, as he pushed Congress to raise the minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the protests are an attempt by unions to "boost their dwindling membership." The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests. McDonald's, the world's largest burger chain, said in a statement that there were no service disruptions at its restaurants on Thursday.

Union organizers expected thousands to show up to Thursday's protests around the country. Previously, turnout has been fairly minimal in many places. In an effort to get more people involved, organizers asked other service workers to join protests and added more cities than it previously had.

Shanicka Primo, who was at a protest at McDonald's in New York, said she heard about the demonstration after organizers came to the Checkers restaurant where she works. The 20-year-old earns $8 an hour at the burger chain and said a raise to $15 per hour would help her get her own apartment. "I wouldn't have to live with my family," Primo said.

Don Babwin in Chicago, Mike Householder in Detroit, Candice Choi in New York, John Locher in Las Vegas and Laura Wides-Muñoz in Miami contributed to this report.

Comments

Wolverine49457

$15.00 an hour X 0 hours = ???

Tri-cities realist

Exactly.

haroldrezny

Wonder why we never see those protests at BK and McDiabetes here in Grand Haven?

skyking007

It always takes a while and people get arrested. But the cause is right. People died in the past striking for better pay. Now the Republican Party wants to take that all away in favor of companies making huge profits They want people to work for a wage they can't live on and then take away any aid they might get. I will not go in a fast food place in support of these courageous people. We don't see this in Grand Haven because there is not enough support in this conservative area. For a town that claims to be Christian, very few care about the few trapped in minimum wage.

Tri-cities realist

Help me follow your logic: the rich fat cat Republicans want the majority of people to be poor without enough money to live on, such that fewer people will pay for the goods and services their companies provide, thus causing their businesses to shrink. Yep, makes perfect sense.

And if more people followed your lead and refused to patronize fast food restaurants, those restaurants would eventually lay off their workers or shut down completely. I'm sure those unemployed workers will appreciate your "support" of their cause. On 2nd thought, some of them might actually prefer to be unemployed.

I don't mean to sound too harsh, but can you see the illogic of your thoughts?

Wolverine49457

I worked lots of minimum wage jobs beginning with $.90 hour picking celery on my knees all day and shoveling cow manure on a dairy farm on the weekends. I didn’t like either much and so I began to invest in myself until I was worth more, I worked at jobs I didn't like but gained experience until I was worth a wage that would support a family and then I started a family, I didn’t start making babies and lay back bewildered looking for others to pay the price tag or hoping uncle sucker would force a burger joint to compensate assemblers of hamburgers as though it was an advanced skill.
If a person wants or needs to earn more money they need to be worth more money through experience and or education. The tasks are monotonous but simple and requires not much more than a warm body to complete the task and not really worth the current minimum wage. By this movement method of reckoning the gas station attendant requiring far more skill should make $60.000 a year.

Straightjacket

I picked blueberries for 25 cents a bucket. I worked cleaning toilets for 1.65 an hour min wage. I as well wanted more and got it by getting an education and developing skills that pay more. I never once thought someone owes me more, I looked at what paid more and developed that skill set to achieve that salary.
People make bad decisions and want the world to bail them out. Let me summarize, drop out of HS, get a girl pregnant, see a shiny new car get a loan, get girl pregnant again, girl leaves, girl wants child support, get different girl pregnant, need new shiny car old car not paid off just flip loans into new car payment, still working at factory, first girl garnishes wages, next girl unhappy leaves, need big screen TV and cable, second girl wants child support, can't pay rent like shiny car, yea if I only made more money I would be happy, it's the rich guys fault, the company is keeping me down man.
Do you understand decisions determine your reality?
Don't ask the world to bail you out of your bad choices, we will help the retarded but not the ignorant.

Tri-cities realist

Unfortunately the work ethic described by straightjacket and wolverine (and allegedly Lanny) is becoming a thing of the past. We are becoming lazy, and since virtually everything in life can be obtained on demand, some are demanding higher wages without having proven they have a skill or knowledge that the market demands. Basic Economics education in this country is a joke.

gordbzz231

That was 25 cent,s a pound, but your absolutely correct, sad but true nowadays,s

rose_b5

Here's the problem. Its the disproportionate raise in wages. Minimum wages for folks have risen about $3 an hour over the past 20 years. CEO to worker ratio is over 500% increase. So how it fair that the CEO's and executives have risen so much and the average worker hasn't risen even remotely at the same pace. Also, don't tell me those CEO's make that big of a difference. I'm pretty sure most companies could lose their CEO and hardly anything would change. Are there some out there worth a million dollars for a year? Probably. But no one is worth 100's of millions of dollar a year. Or to get golden parachutes that give them millions of dollars to leave either.

Straightjacket

Start a business, take all the risks and responsibilities personally, call yourself the CEO and pay yourself less than the lowest paid person working for you and now you have solved the problem.
Or do nothing and keep complaining.
Oh victim, right.

Tri-cities realist

Well rose, the market and the boards of directors apparently think they are worth it. Who knows their business better, you or them?

Tri-cities realist

And for the economically illiterate: the economy is not a zero sum game, meaning that the overall economy grows as well as shrinks. So just because a CEO makes millions, does NOT mean that the lower paid employees were somehow cheated out of this money. In fact if the CEO of the company you work for is not getting a raise, you likely won't either.

Vladtheimp

Reality:

http://www.gizmag.com/hamburger-... Versus

Jesse Jackson “[Spitting into the food of white customers at a hotel in Greenville, South Carolina] gave me a psychological gratification.”

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