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Fast Food Workers Shut Down Street in Durham, NC; 26 Arrested

Fast Food Workers
Leoneda Inge

Fast food workers in North Carolina rallied Thursday in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.  As in New York City, Detroit and Chicago, some workers chose civil disobedience.

Fast food workers came from Charlotte, Raleigh and other cities to lock arms with workers in Durham.  And at lunch time, right in the middle of Morgan Street, across from a McDonald’s, dozens of demonstrators sat down, and chanted.

“We can’t survive on $7.25! We can’t survive on $7.25!”

A Durham Police officer tried to clear the street, saying a fire station was nearby and needed a clear path for emergencies.

“A fire station on the road, let’s go!”

The crowd did not disperse.  Jerika Brown was at work inside the nearby McDonalds and decided to join the crowd.

“I’m only getting $7.25 an hour," said Brown. "So, I’ve worked at McDonald’s three years, this is the second one I’ve worked at, it’s not fair to me.”

Durham Police say they ended up arresting 26 demonstrators, after three hours of blocking Morgan Street.  They were charged with impeding traffic

The North Carolina AFL-CIO and the "Raise Up" Fast Food Worker Association said about 200 fast food workers across the state walked off the job Thursday.   

In a statement, McDonald’s Corporation said they had no reported service interruptions because of the walk-outs.  The company says local franchisees set wages for their workers.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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