25 arrested for sitting in street at minimum-wage rally
About 25 people participating in a nationwide minimum-wage protest were arrested Tuesday in Manhattan after they linked arms and sat in a street.
They were among about 350 people at a peaceful rally, part of the National Day of Action to Fight for $15. The campaign seeks higher hourly wages, including for workers at fastfood restaurants and airports.
Participants chanted, “We shall not be moved” and waved signs that said, “We won’t back down” and “Strike for $15 and our future.”
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in April that will gradually raise New York’s minimum wage to $15.
One protester, 55-yearold Flavia Cabral, struggles to make ends meet with two part-time jobs.
“All these people don’t have savings because we’re working check to check,” Cabral said. “We have to decide what we are going to get: We’re going to pay rent or we’re going to put food on the table or we’re going to send my child to school.”
Cabral, who’s originally from the Dominican Republic, said she was especially concerned about her children’s education.
“No family has money saved to send their children to school. I’m one of them,” she said, adding that one of her daughters dropped out and she’s concerned about keeping her other daughter in school.
Fast-food worker Alvin Major, 51, said he supports four children and a wife recovering from cancer.
“Fifteen dollars is just a number,” he said. “If we could get one dollar and one dollar could take care of our health care, housing, food and everything, that’s what we need.”
The Employment Policies Institute, a conservative economic think tank, issued a statement in response to the protests, saying dramatic minimumwage increases result in lost jobs, reduced hours and business closures.
The minimum wage will rise to $15 in New York City by the end of 2018 and in some prosperous suburbs by the end of 2021. It will rise to $12.50 in the rest of the state by 2020, eventually reaching $15.
A crowd of about 350 protesters stand on Broadway in front of a McDonald’s restaurant, Tuesday in New York. About 25 of the chanting minimum-wage protesters, foreground, were arrested. The event was part of the National Day of Action to Fight for $15.