DETROIT (WWJ) – Custodians, childcare workers, fast food employees and others formed a crowd of around 200 people in Detroit on Monday, rallying for a big hike in the minimum wage.
Those marching at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park chanted: “What do we want? Fifteen! When do we want it? Now!” — telling WWJ’s Jon Hewett that they deserve a living wage for the jobs they do.
Among those speaking at the demonstration was former Detroit mayoral candidate, Coleman Young, II.
“For everybody that’s been oppressed, for everybody that’s been overworked and underpaid, for all these women out here that are working jobs and can’t feed their families, for all these brothers that are unemployed out here on these streets, this is what we’re doing it for!” Young exclaimed into a megaphone. “This is what we’re out here in the cold for.”
Carrying “Fight for $15” signs, the group marched from the park down W. Grand Blvd. to a McDonald’s restaurant by the Lodge Freeway.
Nursing home worker Yolanda Bryant told Hewett she has to work two jobs in order to take care of her family.
“You can’t get ahead,” Bryant said. “Like I would go to work at night, go to work and it’s dark outside when I get there; when I come back it’ll be dark. So I would be home just long enough to take a shower, sleep three or four hours, and back working 16 hours a day.”
“It gets to be frustrating; especially when you’re a nursing home worker, taking care of the elderly people,” she added. “Your body gets tired, you get fatigued and you get weak. How are you gonna take care of somebody else if you can’t take care of yourself?”
Organizers noted that the demonstration, along with others across the country, was being held on the 50th anniversary of the historic 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike.