Arrests began early Thursday morning outside a busy McDonald’s in New York City as thousands of emboldened fast-food workers coast to coast put down their burger flippers and picked up picket signs in a national strike that included civil disobedience as the workers rally for $15 minimum wages and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Strikers began to gather in more than 100 cities early Thursday, affecting major chains from McDonald’s to Wendy’s to Burger King. Shortly after 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, police reportedly arrested 19 workers who sat down in the street — and refused to move — outside the bustling McDonald’s at New York’s Times Square. There are unconfirmed reports of some striking fast-food worker arrests in Detroit, as well.
For workers, it’s about pushing the major fast-food companies to meet their demands for $15-an-hour minimum wages and the right to form a union. For the fast food giants, it’s about trying to keep costs — including labor costs — under control in a highly competitive market.
“There has to be civil disobedience because workers don’t see any other way to get $15 an hour and a union,” says Kendall Fells, organizing director of the organizing group Fast Food Forward, which is financially backed by the Service Employees International Union. “There’s a long history of this, from the civil rights movement to the farm workers movement.”
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SOURCE: USA Today – Bruce Horovitz