25 ar­rested for sit­ting in street at min­i­mum-wage rally

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS - By Alina Heineke

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.

MARK LEN­NI­HAN — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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