Fast-food pro­test­ers cuffed at higher-pay ral­lies

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

NEW YORK (AP) — Po­lice hand­cuffed dozens of pro­test­ers in ci­ties around the coun­try on Thurs­day as they blocked traf­fic in the lat­est at­tempt to es­ca­late their ef­forts to get McDon­ald’s, Burger King and other fast-food com­pa­nies to pay their em­ploy­ees at least $15 an hour.

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 protests 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 might lead to ar­rests. In the past, sup­port­ers have done things like show up at a McDon­ald’s share­holder meet­ing and hold over­seas protests.

The move­ment, 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 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.

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