Los Angeles

Workers Take to Streets in Minimum Wage Protests

The campaign seeks higher hourly minimum wages, including for workers at fast-food restaurants and airports.

Protesters in San Diego joined others in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago as workers took part in a National Day of Action to Fight for $15. The campaign seeks higher hourly minimum wages, including for workers at fast-food restaurants and airports.

A group of protesters ended Tuesday by marching with signs through Downtown San Diego after a day of protesting across the County. The event was part of a larger national effort by the Service Employees International Union, in over 20 cities in the U.S.

The local protest was put on by local unions and organizers from "Fight for Fifteen."

"Fifteen dollars an hour won't be until 2022 and right now it's ten-fifty an hour and that's poverty wages," said Mickey Kasparian, President of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council.

While the protests were largely peaceful, there were reports of arrests across the country.

About 25 protesters were arrested in lower Manhattan after linking arms and sitting on a lower Manhattan street. They were among about 350 people at the rally. Participants chanted "We shall not be moved" and waved signs that read "We won't back down" and "Strike for $15 and our future."

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler sent a "cease and desist" letter to the White House demanding that President Donald Trump stop playing the band's songs at its rallies, Variety reported. The letter came after "Livin' on the Edge" played at Trump's West Virginia rally on Tuesday. Tyler's attorney argues that playing the song in a public arena misleads people into thinking Tyler endorses Trump's presidency. "MY MUSIC IS FOR CAUSES NOT FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS OR RALLIES," Tyler tweeted. Aerosmith's recording company has pulled the public performance rights of another of their songs, "Dream On," after Trump used it in his presidential campaign.

Workers across Chicago, including at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, began to walk off the job over union rights and an hourly wage of $15.

About 500 workers at O'Hare committed to strike on Tuesday. They include cabin cleaners, janitors, wheelchair attendants and baggage handlers. The workers are employed by private contractors. Strike organizers say many work for minimum wage. They're trying to unionize with the help of Service Employees International Union Local 1.

Organizers say they expect delays and disruption, particularly for United and American airlines. But Chicago Department of Aviation officials say they don't anticipate disruptions.

A group is calling for shoppers to boycott Target this holiday season because of the retailer’s stance on LGBTQ equality. The movement is called “AnywhereButTarget.” NBC 7’s Omari Fleming reports.

Thirty-four Boston-area workers were arrested after protesters gathered in Central Square in Cambridge, at Logan International Airport.

In Los Angeles, the first protest began at 6 a.m. in downtown L.A. with another rally scheduled for noon at Airport and Century boulevards just east of Los Angeles International Airport. Officers made several arrests. 

Although he died with no known family, the sanctuary at Indiana's Allisonville Christian Church was nearly full Saturday afternoon for one veteran's funeral service.

In San Diego, the protesters chanted "Si se puede" and held up signs demanding an increase in the minimum wage. They argue $10.50 is not enough money to live in a city with such a high cost of living.

"Considering the fact that I do have things such as rent, I guess $10.50 would be okay if I don't have those things but unfortunately I do," said fast-food employee Bobby Jones.

In the City of San Diego, all employers must pay each employee $10.50 an hour worked under the current minimim wage ordinance. That wage will increase to $11.50 on January 1, 2017. That is $.50 higher than the minimum wage under state law.

Rev. Beth Johnson with the Interfaith coalition for Worker Justice marched with the group.

"The disparity between what the CEO's get and what the workers get it's phenomenal," Johnson said. "It's not going to hurt them to pay a living wage."

In a statement, McDonald's spokesperson Terri Hickey said the company, " takes seriously our role in helping strengthen communities as we and our franchisees separately employ hundreds of thousands of people, providing many with their very first job."

She went on to say the company supports employees as they finish their education and develop the skills necessary to start a career within or outside the restaurant chain.

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