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Seven Arrested In Miami-Dade As Fast Food Workers March For Higher Pay, Union Rights

Rick Stone

Just as they did in several other American citieson Thursday, South Florida fast food workers and union organizers demonstrated for higher wages and union rights. In North Miami Beach, seven demonstrators were arrested for ignoring police orders to disperse.

As far as $9-an-hour Burger King employee DoneshaMincey is concerned, she works for a multi-billion dollar company that wants to keep their extra dollars, but not put them in wages.

Credit Rick Stone
BUSTED: Fast food worker Elvis Manuel Valdez, 19, was arrested with six others for unlawful assembly after blocking 167th Street with their bodies. All were released without bail.

"We have to sell medium and large and when we sell medium and large it comes to $8, $9, $10. They still want you to [pay] that extra dollar," Mincey said. "But when I go see about my wage, I'm not getting it."

Mincey was in a large crowd of fast-food workers, activists and union organizers who marched to a North Miami Beach intersection where a Burger King and a McDonald's face each other across busy 163rd Street. Their demand? Fifteen dollars an hour and the right to join a union. Among their supporters was Miami State Senator Dwight Bullard.

"Needless to say folks, I'm in this fight to win it," Bullard shouted through a bullhorn. "I've got your back. I'm up in Tallahassee fighting each and every day."

Seven of the demonstrators spread a mat in the middle of 167th Street and sat down, causing heavy traffic for blocks in each direction.

City and county police redirected traffic for a half hour. Then a Miami-Dade police car rolled up, and the officer inside used his public address system to tell the protesters they had just been declared an "unlawful assembly":

"Get up and stop blocking the roadway! If you do not do so, you will be arrested!"

The seven were handcuffed and taken to jail to face misdemeanor unlawful assembly charges. Their lawyer said they were released without bail. In an email statement, McDonald's said it has no problem with a higher minimum wage as long as it’s phased in to help restaurant owners adjust. Burger King, in its statement, said it supports worker rights but wage decisions are made by restaurant owners, not the company itself.

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