Victory in New York strengthens workers’ resolve for $15 in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Works Coalition rallies outside McDonald's in Dinkytown.

The Minneapolis Works Coalition rallies outside McDonald’s in Dinkytown.


Fast-food workers in New York state won their fight for $15 yesterday. Workers in Minneapolis intend to be next.

“If New York can do it, then Minneapolis and Minnesota can do it,” Guillermo Lindsay, a McDonald’s worker and CTUL organizer, barked into a megaphone at a rally outside the Dinkytown McDonald’s yesterday.

Fast-food workers, Working America members and other stakeholders in the Minneapolis Works Coalition organized the rally to celebrate New York’s victory – and keep pressure on Mayor Betsy Hodges and city council members to pass a slate of policies that would lift low-wage workers out of poverty.

“We deserve justice,” McDonald’s worker Lizbeth Garcia said through an interpreter. “We need $15 an hour. We need paid sick days. We need fair scheduling. We need an end to wage theft.”

The Minneapolis City Council today announced it would consider ordinances guaranteeing workers access to earned sick time and fair schedules, an “important step in the right direction and great news for Minneapolis workers, public health and work productivity,” Minneapolis Works said in a press statement.

Shenda Kazee joins a rally outside her workplace, the McDonald's in Dinkytown.

Shenda Kazee joins a rally outside her workplace, the McDonald’s in Dinkytown.

Shenda Kazee, who works nights at the Dinkytown McDonald’s, said her productivity and work-life balance suffer as a result of inconsistent scheduling. Because she earns just $9 an hour at McDonald’s, Kazee picks up hours at a second job to make ends meet.

“It’s been three days, and I have not had any sleep,” Kazee said before the rally yesterday. “I’m going off espresso right now.”

Employers, she said, should provide workers with notice of their schedules “at least a week or two in advance.” They should also pay higher wages.

“McDonald’s is a billion-dollar company,” Kazee said. “They can afford it, and I think we deserve it.”

The victory in New York comes three years after workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s walked off their jobs in New York City, sparking a nationwide movement for a $15 minimum wage and union rights.

The new policy, finalized by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday, will gradually raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 over the next three years in New York City and over the next six years statewide. An estimated 200,000 workers will see higher wages as a result.

“Now it’s our turn,” Kazee said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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