Students, community members rally for higher minimum wage

Men+dressed+in+suits+demonstrated+their+interpretation+of+how+minimum+wage+workers+are+treated+outside+of+the+Dinkytown+McDonald%27s+on+April+15.+%28Photos%3A+Chris+Juhn%2FCity+College+News%29
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Students, community members rally for higher minimum wage

Men dressed in suits demonstrated their interpretation of how minimum wage workers are treated outside of the Dinkytown McDonald's on April 15. (Photos: Chris Juhn/City College News)

Men dressed in suits demonstrated their interpretation of how minimum wage workers are treated outside of the Dinkytown McDonald's on April 15. (Photos: Chris Juhn/City College News)

Christopher Mark Juhn

Men dressed in suits demonstrated their interpretation of how minimum wage workers are treated outside of the Dinkytown McDonald's on April 15. (Photos: Chris Juhn/City College News)

Christopher Mark Juhn

Christopher Mark Juhn

Men dressed in suits demonstrated their interpretation of how minimum wage workers are treated outside of the Dinkytown McDonald's on April 15. (Photos: Chris Juhn/City College News)

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By Khadro Mohamed
Contributor

1000 demonstrators assembled at the Dinkytown McDonald’s on Wednesday, April 15, striking for a $15 dollar minimum wage and workers’ rights.

15 Now has been appearing in American cities for the past few months and it seems as if the movement has really taken off. The protest attracted a large audience of people. A majority of the protesters were minimum wage workers. The objective of the protest is to have the state increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, access to earn fair scheduling, sick and safe time and end to theft wage. For many wage theft is an issue that goes undetected since not a lot of workers know their rights or what wage theft is. Wage theft can be defined in many ways such as not receiving the minimum wage, not receiving a paycheck after leaving a job or compensation for overtime.

According to a 2013 bill in Minnesota state legislators workers could earn one hour sick and safe time for every 30 hours they have worked. If a worker has not used their safe and sick time they can use it for breaks and other purposes.

The protest was largely organized by different clubs and organizations such as Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), ISAIAH and Take Action Minnesota.

The protest was part of a greater movement that is happening across cities in the United States where workers want the minimum wage to be raised to $15. In the crowd young and old shouted in unison slogans such as, “What do we want? 15 now” were heard from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus to the Dinkytown Mcdonald’s.

The audience of the protest was largely a good mix of people. Among the protesters was Keonna Laury a high school student who currently works at Burger King. She shared her experience with poverty.

“I am the only person supporting my family so our lives matter, we have people to care for it is a struggle out here,” she said.

Rob Lewis, a former fast food worker, a teacher currently, said the following: “if you care about poverty then you should care about this movement and increasing the minimum wage.”

Just two hours before the protest, NOC headquarters burned down, fuelling the energy of the protest. The Minneapolis City Council acknowledged the rally’s message and two days later passed a resolution that will establish a work group. The work group will be dedicated to writing policy for workers to earn safe and sick time, fair scheduling prevent wage theft and more research into local and regional minimum wages. Dulce Zuchini is a work study student pursuing a biology degree at MCTC. She shared where there could be improvements for worker’s rights

“Schedules should be more flexible being a student,” Zuchini said. “I go to work and school, and some places don’t even give you a break when you’re working these long hours.