NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dozens of people were arrested Monday as they participated in protests nationwide for a $15 per hour minimum wage.
The efforts are part of the National Day of Action to Fight for $15. The campaign seeks higher hourly wages, including for workers at fast-food restaurants and airports.
Workers rallied in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York on Tuesday morning. In many cities the protesters blocked busy intersections.
About 25 of the 350 protesters in lower Manhattan were arrested after they linked arms and sat on the street. Participants chanted “We shall not be moved” and signs said “We won’t back down” and “Strike for $15 and our future.”
One protester, 55-year-old Flavia Cabral, struggles to make ends meet with two part-time jobs.
“All these people don’t have savings because we’re working check to check,” Cabral said. “We have to decide what we are going to get: We’re going to pay rent or we’re going to put food on the table or we’re going to send my child to school.”
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last April that gradually raises the minimum wage to $15 in New York City by the end of 2018 and in some prosperous suburbs by the end of 2021.
It will rise to $12.50 in the rest of the state by 2020, eventually reaching $15.
But one protester, who works at John F. Kennedy Airport helping passengers in wheelchairs, said she needs $15 an hour now.
“Fifteen dollars, it’s a fair wage at least to take care of my bills, my family,” she told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
Meanwhile, Detroit police say they arrested about 40 protesters who blocked traffic and nearly three dozen protesters have been arrested in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, ride-hailing drivers, fast-food employees, airport workers and others shut down an Oakland intersection.
In Chicago, hundreds of protesters at O’Hare International Airport were outside terminals chanting “What do we want? $15! When do we want it? Now!”
Police gated an area to allow travelers room to walk. As many as 500 workers at the airport planned to strike.
More protests were expected nationwide later in the day. Thousands plan to walk off the job at McDonald’s restaurants.
The conservative-leaning, nonprofit Employment Policies Institute think tank said it believes minimum wage increases will result in lost jobs, reduced hours and business closures.
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