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Minimum Wage Workers Call For $15 An Hour

UPDATE: 8:32 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Protesters marched on fast-food restaurants on the west and south sides, and in the Loop, staging a Tax Day protest demanding an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The protesters first marched on a restaurant at 8321 S. Ashland Av., which closed briefly while demonstrators rallied outside.

"We need a living wage. We're really just asking for a living wage, so that we can be able to provide for our families, just like everyone else," said Donald Jenkins, who makes $8.30 an hour working for McDonald's.


CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports protesters blocked the drive thru of a South Austin McDonald's to get their point across.

They're fighting for $15 an hour, not just for McDonald's workers, but all people working for minimum wage.

When asked why McDonald's is being targeted by the protesters, McDonald's employee Jessica Davis said it is, "Because we know the fast food industry is a $200 billion industry that can afford to pay their workers 15 in a union, so we do have other workers here from other fast food working sectors."

Brinks employees on strike joined McDonald's workers in solidarity.

"We're, as brothers and sisters, they're being the same way, treated as us, no different," said Brinks employee Mohamed Hasan. "We just want our overtime back. Brinks took away our overtime. They took away a bunch of stuff from us and we feel we deserve much more."


The last began with a mid-afternoon rally on the UIC campus that featured low-paid home care, child care, fast food and retail workers, union representatives and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who has backed the "Fight for 15" movement since its start more than a year ago.
Following the rally at UIC, demonstrators marched toward a McDonald's in the Loop.

Garcia said he understands their cause.

"They think that by raising the living wage to 15 dollars an hour, they've got a shot at aspiring to send their kids to college, being able to buy a home and just having greater security," Garcia said.

Asked if he thought Mayor Emanuel should have participated, Garcia said everyone who cares about low-income families should have taken part. Emanuel has backed an increase to $13 an hour.

Fight for $15 protesters outside the UIC chancellor's office. (Credit: Bob Robers)

From UIC, the marchers, which numbered several thousand, paraded up Halsted Street in Greektown to Jackson Boulevard, and east on Jackson. They stopped in front of a Jackson Boulevard Dunkin' Donuts store for several minutes, then proceeded to a McDonald's restaurant located next to the Chicago Board of Trade, at 111 W. Jackson. This McDonald's remained in operation during the 30 minutes that the protesters beat their drums and chanted outside. Police officers and McDonald's employees ushered customers in and out until the rally dissipated, at about 6:30 p.m.

A Chicago police commander told WBBM that the protest organizers stuck to their word, said the rally and march remained peaceful, and said no one was detained or arrested.

Organizers said Wednesday's demonstrations would be the largest ever fast food strike, as fast food workers from Chicago, Pittsburgh, Pasadena, and other cities plan walked off the job.

Wednesday's events also brought together home care, childcare, nursing home, and university workers – all of whom are demanding better pay.

A $15 statue in the courtyard of the Board of Trade Building. (Credit: Bob Roberts)

Childcare worker Tonya Davidson shared her thoughts on the push for an increased minimum wage as the day's events kicked off in Auburn-Gresham.

"We're here today, supporting childcare workers across Illinois. We don't make enough. We take care of other people's families, but we can't even take care of our own children," she said. "Some of the teachers are making minimum wage. That's not enough; and we have bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, associate's degrees."

The Fight For $15 campaign said its mobilization effort would span 100 cities in 40 countries, on six continents, from Sao Paolo to Tokyo.

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