HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Fast food workers made their voices heard outside of a McDonald’s restaurant in Hartford Thursday. And it wasn’t just in Hartford, there were similar rallies staged all across the nation.
Workers say that while restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Burger King rake in millions of dollars in profits, they pay their cooks and servers too little to support a family.
In Hartford, Thursday’s job action ended with more than a dozen arrests. Several hundred protesters marched and rallied in front of the McDonalds’ on Washington Street demanding that fast food workers be paid more and be given the right to form a union. Among those speaking out was Victor Burgos.
“I’m tired of working for minimum wage,” said Burgos.
He says his job at a fast food restaurant paying $8.85 an hour just isn’t enough to support four children.
“Working minimum wage is very hard cause you gotta always be out here working, trying to figure out how to get money for your rent, how you going to feed your children, at this moment enough is enough,” said Burgos.
These protesters say the point their trying to make is simple, restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts rake in huge profits but pay workers as little as possible. To drive home message, 13 were arrested there for refusing to move from the street in front of the resturant. They were cheered on as they were led away by police. But fast food workers aren’t alone in this fight.
A representative of the Hartford teachers union joined in the rally saying higher wages lead to stronger families and more successful children in the classroom.
“We know that they’re working two and three jobs and they don’t have the time to spend with the children they need. We know that giving them a higher wage and better benefits will give them the opportunity to spend the time we know parents need with their children,” said Joshua Hall, Hartford Federation of Teachers.
But despite the protests and police presence, the McDonald’s stayed open serving customers evidence of just how difficult the struggle for higher wages may ultimately be.
Those thirteen people who were led away by police were charged with civil disobedience.
In ‘response’ to the rallies the National Restaurant Association said that Thursday’s job action was part of a multi-million dollar campaign by ‘labor groups’ who are trying to boost their ‘dwindling membership’.