Police Presence at McDonald’s Protest Puts Kibosh on Second March

NYPD fries workers' plans

fast food Police Presence at McDonald’s Protest Puts Kibosh on Second March

These workers protested in May, but they were nowhere to be found late Thursday morning. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

About 400 fast food workers campaigning for higher wages protested outside the Times Square McDonald’s Thursday morning, but the robust police presence cancelled a planned second demonstration.

The protesters gathered at 7:15 a.m. at the McDonald’s on West 42nd St. as part of the “Fight for $15” movement. They were advocating for a wage hike to $15 an hour, and the right to unionize.

“We work for a billion-dollar industry,” Darrell Roper, a fast food worker from Brooklyn who makes $9 an hour, told the Daily News. “They can pay us a living wage!”

The protests soon turned ugly, however, as 19 people were arrested for disorderly conduct when they linked arms and sat peacefully on the street. A police officer had to read the workers their rights through a bullhorn.

This police action shut down planned protests later in the day. More demonstrations were scheduled for 11:45 a.m. at both the Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen McDonalds, but these, though publicized, did not occur.

“You’re wasting your time, because it’s not going to happen,” a worker at the Times Square McDonald’s told the Observer.

The fast food workers’ fight for a higher wage has the support of politicians like Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout. #StrikeFastFood was a trending topic on Twitter on Thursday morning.

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, released a statement saying he also stood in solidarity with the protesters.

“Today, a person working full-time at minimum wage is not able to lift themselves out of poverty,” Mr. Berg said. “That’s not only morally repugnant, it’s bad economic policy.”

Restaurant trade groups are against a $15 wage, saying it would increase prices, decrease profit margins and result in fewer jobs in the long run.