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Fast Food Worker Protest in Wilkinsburg Leads to 8 Arrests

Micheal Lynch
90.5 WESA

The nationwide fight over a higher minimum wage for fast food workers landed eight Pittsburgh-area protesters behind bars Thursday.

More than 100 workers and supporters hit the streets in front of the McDonald’s restaurant in Wilkinsburg demanding wages of $15 an hour and union representation.

Local fast food workers have been holding rallies, pickets and job walk offs for months, but Thursday’s event was supported by similar rallies planned in nearly 150 U.S. cities.

Eight ralliers locked arms and sat down in Penn Avenue blocking traffic. Police responded by taking them into custody without incidence.

Organizers say workers at area McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Popeye’s and KFCs either walked off their jobs or did not repot to work Thursday.

Eleven demonstrators were arrested in Philadelphia, and there are reports of arrests in New York and Detroit.

The movement, which is backed financially by the Service Employees International Union and others, has gained national attention at a time when the wage gap between the poor and the rich has become a hot political issue. The average fast-food worker make little more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which adds up to about $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week.