DETROIT (WWJ) — Hundreds of fast food and other workers turned out in downtown Detroit today for a Labor Day protest for higher wages.
Workers walked off the job at a McDonald’s on West Grand Boulevard and joined members of “Fight for 15” as they marched down the street to Henry Ford Hospital. The group was protesting for a raise in their pay to $15 per hour. Joining the group on Monday were a number of local politicians, including state senator and Detroit mayoral candidate Coleman Young II.
Young spoke to the group outside Henry Ford Hospital, and later caught up with WWJ Newsradio 950 reporter Vickie Thomas. He said these workers don’t make enough money to cover all of their bills, making a $15 minimum wage necessary.
“We need to raise the minimum wage to $15,” Young said. “You have so many people that are out here hurting right now. You got folks that are making decisions if they are going to pay their (electricity) bill or auto insurance bill. Am I going to have water in my house or am I going to be able to feed myself? A $15 minimum wage will do that.”
Detroit City Council candidate Mary Waters also joined the crowd today, and said she understands how upsetting it can be to receive such a low wage.
“I’m here today and I’m supporting Fight for 15,” Waters said. “I picked cotton as a youngster so I understand what it means to receive low wages. I also worked at a McDonald’s while working my way through the University of Michigan. I understand what it means to receive low wages.”
The group chose Labor Day to hold the protest to help raise awareness for their cause. The group is also looking to gain union rights.
Also on hand was congresswoman Debbie Dingell. She said a protest like this will help showcase the need for a higher minimum wage.
“When people come together like you see this morning it’s collective voices out there fighting for everybody,” Dingell said. “Championing for everybody. People like to demonize it because they don’t like the success of people coming together to fight for what’s right.”