Tom Filbert who is currently unemployed holds a sign in front of Wendy's showing support for higher wages for fast food workers
In what was billed in a press release as a fast food workers' strike, about 50 people marched in front of several restaurants on Fowler Ave. in Tampa on Thursday afternoon. Protesters in Boston, New York, and Chicago also staged walkouts as part of a nationwide movement attempting to bring awareness to the low wages traditionally paid employees in the fast food industry.
The rally met in front of a Wendy's Hamburgers around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and proceeded down Fowler Avenue to three other fast food chains. The original plan was to cross the highway and wrap up at a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the other side but after more than 20 minutes of heavy rain, organizers dispersed the crowd around 5:30 p.m.
Many of those in attendance wore labor union t-shirts. Dustin Ponder, who describes himself as a rank-and-file member of the Teamsters at UPS, said the unions were there to support and educate fast food workers.
About 50 demonstrators picket in front of Long John Silvers on Fowler Avenue.
Toward the end of the rally those in attendance were asked if anyone was a fast food worker. No one replied. Ponder explained to the press that seven workers were planning to attend but had been threatened by their managers to have their hours cut if they left work. He did not identify the workers or their employers.
One of the sponsors of the rally was West Central Florida Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council who represent international unions in 12 counties on Florida's West Coast
Dustin Ponder and Calvin Johnson, two of the organizers of Thursday's rally, walk out of Wendy's after a brief demonstration inside.
Wendy's, Checkers, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver's restaurants are side by side on Fowler Avenue. Demonstrators marched down the sidewalks and into two of the restaurants. There were no arrests.
Miguel Gonzales, originally from the Dominican Republic, shows his support for what he called a living wage.
Randy Pines, wearing a Teamsters t-shirt, uses a bullhorn to address those in attendance at Thursday's rally.