MINNEAPOLIS - Fast food workers and their supporters started the day Thursday with a vocal march and demonstration, part of a national movement renewing the call for higher wages.
Dozens massed at the Walker Library in Uptown Minneapolis and marched to McDonald's at Lake and Lagoon, carrying signs and chanting along the way. Once there the group entered and tried to speak with management, urging a wage of $15 per hour and union rights for all fast food workers.
Shortly after the demonstration Uptown McDonald's owner Mike DaRula released a statement supporting not the workers' position, but their right to rally and protest.
"At McDonald's we respect everyone's right to peacefully protest," DaRula wrote. "I value the dedicated employees that work in my restaurants and remain committed to providing them with opportunities to succeed. Our McDonald's franchised organization has a long, proven history of providing advancement paths, training and development for those who want it. In my restaurants, wages are set according to local and federal laws, the competitive marketplace and job level. We believe that any minimum wage increase should be implemented over time so that the impact on owners of small and medium-sized businesses is manageable and feasible. Additionally, we believe that any increase needs to be considered in a broad context, one that considers, for example, the impact of the Affordable Care Act and its definition of "full time" employment, as well as the treatment, from a tax perspective, of investments made by business owners."
The demonstration comes two years after New York City fast-food workers sparked a nationwide movement for higher pay and rights on the job, Minneapolis fast-food workers organizing with CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha) will walk off the job at various times Thursday, joining strikers in 160 cities nationwide—more than ever before.
A second protest is set for noon at the Burger King on 34th and Nicollet. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is expected to join in the demonstration.