Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fast-food workers demonstrate for a living wage in Tampa

The crowd yelled, "When workers' rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!"

Posted By on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 7:41 PM

click to enlarge Fast-food workers from Tampa cross an intersection, rallying for increased wages and the right to form a union. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • Fast-food workers from Tampa cross an intersection, rallying for increased wages and the right to form a union.

A little past 4:30 p.m., together with other fast-food employees protesting around the world Thursday, Tampa workers rallied outside a cluster of fast-food titans at Fletcher Avenue and 22nd Street.

Starting in front of an Arby's, chanting in unison and holding signs, dozens of workers demanded a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the ability to unionize without employer repercussions.

click to enlarge While other workers confront Arby's inside, many continue to demonstrate on the street. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • While other workers confront Arby's inside, many continue to demonstrate on the street.

Accompanied by a Ronald McDonald costume donned by a fellow demonstrator, DIY posters expressed slogans like "Poverty should not!! exist" and "We're worth more."

A small group of demonstrators eventually marched inside the Arby's.

Rev. Charles McKenzie, of the Tampa Rainbow PUSH Coalition, gave a speech over a megaphone. Speaking for the group, he voiced, "We are tired of being used like things ... We have the right to organize, the right to just wages."

"Poverty wages have got to go," workers shouted repeatedly, now crossing the bustling intersection and approaching a McDonald's.

Again, demonstrators addressed the restaurant chain from the sidewalk. This time, they were looking right at McDonald's personnel — dress shirts, slacks, a few ties — and law enforcement, who were standing in the parking lot, staring back at them.

Though the strike was the third and final of the day for most of the workers, momentum was not lost.

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