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Fast Food Strike Arrests Made in 4 Cities for 'Civil Disobedience'

Image: Fast Food Strike Arrests Made in 4 Cities for 'Civil Disobedience'
Protesters demanding higher wages and unionization for fast food workers block traffic near Times Square in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 12:12 PM

A nationwide fast food strike saw thousands of hourly workers protest for a $15 minimum wage on Thursday, with demonstrators being arrested in at least four cities for planned acts of "civil disobedience."

According to USA Today, the "Fight for $15" campaign was coordinated by Fast Food Forward, which has been underwritten with millions of dollars from the Service Employees International Union.



"There has to be civil disobedience because workers don't see any other way to get $15 an hour and a union," said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the group. "There's a long history of this, from the civil rights movement to the farm workers movement."

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The New York Times reported that 1,300 fast-food workers unanimously approved the civil disobedience resolution at a convention outside of Chicago this past July.

S.E.I.U. represents hundreds of thousands of janitors and health care workers, and has asked home-care specialists to join the fast-food protests in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Seattle.

Altogether, the protests aim to increase the wages of those who make at or near the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or roughly $15,000 annually. Seattle recently set a plan to slowly increase the city-wide minimum wage to $15 by 2021, and San Francisco has considered similar plans. Many states and cities have minimum wage laws set higher than the federal minimum, some by several dollars.

President Obama voiced his support for higher minimum wages and unions in a Labor Day speech ahead of the protests, and the official White House Twitter account was also used to support the movement on Thursday.


Rob Green, executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, said in a statement that the organization opposed the union's tactics.

"While it is common for labor unions to stage events in order to grab media attention, encouraging activities that put both restaurant workers and their customers in danger of physical harm is not only irresponsible, it's disturbing. Unions are calling it 'civil disobedience' when in reality, this choreographed activity is trespassing and it's illegal."

By mid-day on Thursday, several news outlets reported that nearly 20 people were arrested in New York's Times Square in connection with the protests.

Philadelphia, Little Rock and San Diego also began seeing arrests, with many being documented on Twitter.






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A nationwide fast food strike saw thousands of hourly workers protest for a $15 minimum wage on Thursday, with demonstrators being arrested in at least four cities for planned acts of "civil disobedience."
fast, food, strike, arrests
495
2014-12-04
Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 12:12 PM
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