Rallies in Chicago as workers fight to be paid $15 an hour. Picture: AP.
Protests led by fast-food workers urging employers and Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour have resulted in a spate of arrests in several major cities.
The arrests stemmed from the “Fight for $15” campaign, a national effort whose organized leadership had planned toramp up protests and acts of civil disobedience, according to The Chicago Tribune.
According to online news site The Wire, 19 protestors were arrested in Times Square on charges of disorderly conduct for blocking vehicular traffic. In Detroit, police arrested approximately two dozen individuals who refused to stop blocking a McDonald’s drive thru lane and a nearby street.
The protestors in Detroit were warned to move or face arrest, according to Detroit CBS affiliate WWJ. Officers waited 30 minutes and then proceeded to make arrests.
Police handcuff protesters blocking traffic on Mack Avenue in Detroit as part of a national protest to push fast-food chains to pay their employees at least $15 an hour Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Hundreds of workers from McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and other fast-food chains are expected to walk off their jobs Thursday, according to labor organizers of the latest national protest to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
“The protesters who were sitting on Mack Avenue and refusing to move had a bit of a negotiating session between the police department and the organizers — that didn’t go anywhere,” a reporter with the news station viewing the scene from a hovering helicopter said. “So, police have now swooped in and what they have done is arrested at least 20, maybe 30 people. They’re leading them away in handcuffs to the back of the squad cars.”
Fifty protestors arrested in Chicago for disrupting traffic, one in the city’s Chatham neighborhood and one in Cicero, according to the Tribune.
Chicago protestor Maria Torres, 54, told the Tribune that she has worked at McDonald’s for the past six years and is currently making $8.25 an hour.
“To us, they are an example,” Torres said of the protestors. “They are the heroes of the day.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a law to increase that state’s minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $8.00 on Jan. 1 and again to $8.25 on July 1, 2015. Workers will get subsequent raises to $8.75 on July 1, 2016 and $9.25 on July 1, 2017. The full-phase in to $10.10 will take place on July 1, 2018.
“We cannot let this be a two-day event,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “We have to keep fighting and we will keep fighting. This is a moral issue, without a doubt we got to be working harder just to stay alive, and longer.”