INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — McDonald’s workers in Indianapolis gathered Thursday morning to take part in a 150-city strike that’s been dubbed “Fight for 15.” They’re fighting for their wage to be increased to $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Workers gathered in front of the McDonald’s, located at 3745 North Post Road, on Indianapolis’ east side. More than 30 police officers were also there. Protesters say they planned to stage a brief sit in, stop traffic and then get arrested. Similar protests were planned in cities around the country.
Organizers said Marion County has about 24,000 fast food workers who make less than $9 dollars an hour. A recent study found half of those workers rely on government assistance.
Efforts to gradually raise today’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $10.10 over a 30-month period haven’t gotten much traction in Congress.
On Wednesday, during a stop in Indianapolis, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said he thinks it’s time.
“I speak to business owner after business owner who tells me, ‘Tom what I need most right now are customers,’” said Perez. “What we need if we want to pick up the pace of growth … is we need to do things that put money in people’s pockets to stimulate consumption. The companies that do business here are going to make more things if people have more money in their pockets.”
Critics argue raising the minimum wage would hurt employers, forcing them to cut jobs and become less productive.
Right now the minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25. There have been no recent proposals to raise the minimum wage in Indianapolis. In 2013, the state legislature voted down a plan to raise the minimum wage to $8.25.
The mayor of Chicago is asking his city council to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018. And the mayor of Los Angeles has unveiled a plan to raise the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017.