Fast food workers plan walk out Tuesday in Fight for 15
(WJBK) - Multiple people were seen getting arrested at a Fight for $15 rally in downtown Detroit Tuesday afternoon.
Dozens of protesters are gathered together, wearing red, along Woodward Avenue near the McDonald's at Canfield. It's not known right now why police were making arrests but FOX 2 has reached out for confirmation.
Earlier in the day, eight people were hit by a truck at a similar Fight for $15 rally in Flint. All eight were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Some have already been released, we were told, and made their way down to Detroit to join in this rally.
FOX 2 has been told roughly 1,000 fast food employees will be walking off the job and coming to the center of Wayne State University, Gullen Mall, for a planned protest.
What they want is an increase in pay. The Fight for 15 will stage its latest in a series of demonstrations over the past few years all in an attempt to raise the minimum wages for fast food employees and other workers who get paid the mandated minimum.
"We want $15 an hour and a union and that is what we aim to get tomorrow," said Rev. W.J. Rideout, activist and protest organizer.
The plan is for workers to take a single shift off and knock on doors to inform the voters of what they say is at stake during this next election.
"It's time to spread this thing to let the governor and all the political leaders know if you want our vote, you've got to come and get our vote," Rideout said.
Fast food jobs are in demand, with plenty of Now Hiring signs at various establishments throughout the metro area. But should these jobs be considered stepping stones in a career, or should people's attitude change towards people who see a fast food job as a way to provide for a family?
"It's not a high school job anymore, it's not a college student job anymore," Rideout said. "This is mom and pop working in these fast food places. These are survival jobs."
The industry itself has shown signs of evolving with the times. In September, a McDonald's in Allen Park opened up self-order kiosks. Some could argue it could lead to less workers in a restaurant if this trend catches on.
Those involved in the Fight for 15 say it’s been tried before.
"They threatened us with robotics for the car industry, it didn't work," Rideout said. "They are still hiring people because a machine doesn't have a brain. At some point the machine is going to break down."
In addition to $15 an hour, these planned protests are also about unionizing. And to those who say this is all a way to get more money to pay union dues, activists say it is about protection on the job.
"These people are working hard and as a union we deserve to have union rights," Rideout said.
According to The Fight for 15 national Facebook page, protests are scheduled to take place all across the country.
Also early Tuesday morning, before the protests were planned, Amazon broke the news that its giving all employees - from season to full-time - a promised minimum wage of $15, starting November 1.