Miami Greens showed their colors Thursday in support of fast food workers demand for $15 an hour and the right to unionize at a spirited demonstration in North Miami Beach, held in the rain in front of a McDonald’s restaurant and across from Burger King. Similar demonstrations were held in some 150 cities organized by SEIU (Service Employees International Union) as part of a labor and wage justice movement spreading across America, spurred by the unanimous passage by Seattle’s city commission of a $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance on June 2nd.
The rally spilled into the major 167th St thoroughfare, where remarkably, demonstrators blocked traffic for the better part of an hour before police announced those remaining in the street would be arrested. Clearly, organizers and the police understood beforehand how this was going to go down, and the role each were to play, without a violent confrontation as we have witnessed in Ferguson recently. Police were prepared to redirect the huge traffic flow, and dutifully hovered about without directly intervening with demonstrators. Seven workers remained, sitting in the crosswalk linking arms and displayinga sign “Supersize My Pay!” They were ceremoniously arrested by police in an orderly fashion and driven away, as the sidewalk crowd chanted “the whole world is watching!” It is reported the arrested seven were given summons and released without bail about an hour later.
Florida Greens are joining the $15 an hour minimum wage fight, collaborating with Socialist Alternative and other groups in parallel to the union effort, to help publicize and educate the pubic on this key issue. It is seen not only as a long overdue just minimum wage for working people in dire need. It is also seen as a key element in an economic recovery, freeing workers from dependence on public assistance, a form of corporate welfare, as well as redistributing the wealth from the top to the bottom, where it will be spent into the economy, giving it a much needed boost.
Report by Steve Showen