Fast-food, cleaning workers block street, march on stores to call for $15 wage

21 people were detained by police and released, and could face public nuisance charges following the protests.
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People have been arrested, streets closed and stores picketed as striking workers in the Twin Cities joined national calls for a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Fast-food workers in Minneapolis blocked Nicollet Ave. at 24th Ave. S. in Uptown, near the McDonald's early Tuesday morning, with Minneapolis police called to the scene.

Police spokesman Scott Seroka said 21 people were identified and "briefly detained" by officers before being released, and now face possible charges of public nuisance.

"They were extremely cooperative and willing to be ID'd," Seroka said.

The protest was part of a wider effort across 340 cities by fast food workers, janitors and other service sector employees fighting for a $15 per hour wage, a movement supported by politicians including Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"These wages for fast food workers are too low," Steven Suffridge, a McDonald's employee, told KSTP. "They're depriving us of what we really need to make. We can't survive on $9.50 an hour; that doesn't even last us a week."

Also Tuesday morning, the Star Tribune reports more than 100 cleaners for Kohl's marched through the Eden Prairie Center wearing Santa hats chanting "We workers want a voice, Oh Kohl's hear our call, injustice anywhere is, injustice for us all" to the tune of "Jingle Bells."

They were locked out by company management, but the newspaper said this didn't "dampen the festive mood."

A third demonstration is planned for Tuesday evening, with a unity match starting at 5:30 p.m. from the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union, according to a Facebook event post.

"As our communities are under attack, we’re not going to sit back and let corporate politicians roll back workers’ rights even further," march organizers said on Facebook. "We need to build a powerful grassroots movement now to fight racism, sexism and xenophobia, and to win gains for working people."

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