Local News

Dozens arrested in Durham during protest to raise fast-food pay

Posted September 4, 2014

Nearly 30 people were arrested in Durham on Thursday while protesting for fast-food companies to raise worker pay. (Submitted by Zania Alsous)

— Nearly 30 people were arrested in Durham on Thursday while protesting for fast-food companies to raise worker pay.

The protesters, who walked off their jobs as part of a national protest, sat in middle of West Morgan Street before blocking the intersection of Rigsbee Avenue and Morgan Street, Durham police said. The group then marched to Morgan and West Main streets, where they again blocked traffic.

The 26 people arrested were taken into custody nearly three hours after the protest started, police said.

“Our officers used great professionalism during this event today and were able to make these arrests without incident,” Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said in a statement. "The officers closely monitored the situation and individuals in the group asked to be arrested."

Thursday event, organized by Raise Up for 15, a workers association representing fast-food workers in the South, is part of a national effort to convince fast-food restaurants to raise their hourly pay to $15 and allow workers to form a union.

George Hargrove, who works at a McDonalds in Durham and was arrested during the protest, said he makes $7.75 an hour after working at the restaurant for 12 years.

"I'm participating in the nonviolent civil disobedience for higher wages so I can afford to take care of my family," he said in a statement. "We need to make sure that our voice is heard and bring union rights to fast-food. we need to show these companies how serious we are. We are struggling to survive and are going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Other protests took place in Raleigh, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.


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  • Ty Shrake Sep 5, 2014
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    You labor under the misconception that raising wages will necessarily increase profits and be good for the economy. Raising wages can increase spending in the short term, but prices soon rise to match wages. Pricing is not independent of the cost of labor... it is a function of that cost. If you pay everyone $1000.00 a day it won't be long before bread is $50.00 a loaf. The disposable cash of higher pay gets wiped out very quickly. But you will create inflation.

  • Brian Jenkins Sep 5, 2014

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    WHy dont you take an economics class. This low wage insanity is just a symptom of the actual problem. Like continuing QE to give the ONE PERCENT nearly free money created from thin air while the poor fast food workers money is worth less and less. You want to give them more money thats loses its value daily like that will solve anything LONG TERM. Why dont you ever want to end the money created from thin air from the Federal Reserve and given to the ONE PERCENT at near ZERO interest? Tell us Mr. Krugman.

  • Vietnam Vet Sep 5, 2014

    Where in the world do these people come up with the idea that what they do, ie: flipping burgers is worth $15 an hour???
    Those jobs were never designed to be a "career", something to support a family. These folks need to go back to school or learn a trade and get a real job that can support them and their family!!

  • ncprr1 Sep 5, 2014

    I love the irony of someone standing on the curb with a sign that says "We will win" when they so clearly lost at life long ago, or they wouldn't even be there. Funny, but sad.

  • baldchip Sep 5, 2014

    I wonder how many were protestors that were paid by unions to be at this rally???

    Increases in min. wage will only serve to drive up unemployment!! Better to make some than none!!

  • scvmcdoc Sep 5, 2014

    Ah, yes, the "illegals". It's always the "illegals" fault. Well, them and the Muslims..........Hans

    No Hans, remember, you've been crying for the last 6 years that it is all Bush's fault!

  • TeaBagOnLove Sep 5, 2014

    Wonder how that arrest will look on the application when they apply for their next job..... Hmmm.

  • br549znc Sep 5, 2014

    They are wasting their time.

  • The_Analyst Sep 5, 2014

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    Hostess going out of business was a calculated move to shed a pension responsibility. If you think someone should work for a business for 30+ years having traded up front compensation for retirement security, and then have it stolen from them, you really have been conned by the 1% - there is no hope for you. It always comes down to economics - raise the price of the fast food products under a dime, and you can pay everyone 20.00 an hour. This story like so many others, is about what you've been conned into believing by the wealthy. The wealthy, with utter ignorance of anything but short term profits, have shot themselves in the foot. Profits can rise to a much greater level in the long run when everyone gets paid better, actually becoming "Job Creators" by spending money and increasing demand (wealthy people DO NOT create jobs) and become "Wealth Creators" creating more profits for the ownership class in the long run.

  • dbgoodyear2010 Sep 5, 2014

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    it's not supposed to be easy