Fast-food protesters cuffed at higher-pay rallies
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.