Teamsters, college students, fast food workers and those who love and support them made up a crowd of about 1,500 people at the University of Minnesota calling for low wage employers to pay their workers at least $15 an hour. Organizers say it was part of a 236 city country wide strike on Wednesday where fast food workers and walked off their jobs. The Twin Cities rally was one of the nation’s largest.
The rally got a lot of union support. Dozens of Teamsters carried signs calling for a livable wage.
“I am out here because I want to stand in solidarity with fast food workers and workers here at the University of Minnesota who really need a living wage,” said a woman in a green AFSCME t-shirt.
“I’m fighting for 15 now. These people need a living wage and we need to help them get it,” said another woman in red “raise the minimum wage” t-shirt.
Students joined in the protest. They had good reason to push for higher wages in service jobs, which may have a ripple effect on other jobs. “I have many student loans,” said one junior. “I think when I graduate I’ll be $35,000 in debt.”
The crowd then marched to the Dinkytown McDonalds and then entered the store to confront the manager about the low wages the store pays its workers. One protester who went in said the McDonald’s manager “hid all of his workers in the back of the restaurant so he couldn’t see us. And kept us from talking directly to any of the workers. I think he was scared that we might influence them to strike.”
Organizers included Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, CTUL, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and 15 NOW Minnesota.