Dozens Of Arrests Made In Fast Food Wage Protests Around Country

A Times Square protestor being arrested this morning (photo: Pete Nagy)

A Times Square protestor being arrested this morning (photo: Pete Nagy)

As we mentioned earlier this week, supporters of higher wages for fast food workers staged protests in cities all over the country today. According to reports, a number of these demonstrations resulted arrests.

Organizers of today’s strike say that at least nine fast food workers were arrested at the protest in New York City’s Times Square, while 42 people were arrested in Detroit, another 23 in Chicago, 11 in Little Rock and another ten in Las Vegas.

The arrests in NYC appear to have been the result of protestors blocking traffic in front of a McDonald’s in tourist-centric Times Square.

“Just getting by everyday, it costs a lot,” one NYC protestor told NY1. “Rent is really high here. I think the average is about $2,000 rent for a one bedroom. Eight dollars an hour is just not enough to pay that alone.”

Similarly, the Chicago Tribune reports that the arrests came after demonstrators sat down on 87th St on the city’s South Side.

In Detroit, around 100 people protested in the parking lot of a McDonald’s, and some moved out into the street to block local traffic.

Protestors arrested outside of a Detroit McDonald's (photo courtesy of Detroit15.org)

Protestors arrested outside of a Detroit McDonald’s (photo courtesy of Detroit15.org)

“The Detroit Police Department recognizes the right for citizens to assemble and protest,” a Detroit police sergeant tells the Detroit News. “However, it must be understood that there are still laws as it pertains to protesting. Citizens … cannot become disorderly, block or impede the movement of other citizens.”

Workers who took part in today’s demonstrations say the protests are escalating because it’s the only way for them to bring about the change they desire.

“McDonald’s left us with no choice,” one worker from North Carolina who says he earns $8/hour explains about today’s demonstrations. “We are struggling to survive and are going to do whatever it takes for our movement to win.”

The National Restaurant Association responded to today’s protests, saying they were “engineered, organized and funded by national labor groups,” and claiming that “the vast majority of participants are activists and paid demonstrators.”

The Restaurant Assoc. and other detractors of the protests claim the movement is solely about padding the coffers of the unions, while those who support the so-called “fight for 15” say it’s about making sure workers are paid a living wage.