The “Fight for 15” took to the streets across the country and across Connecticut this Labor Day. Rallies were planned in hundreds of cities nationwide in support of the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Dozens of people participated in the protests in Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and Waterbury on Monday.
“Hold the burgers hold the fries… make our wages supersized!” A supersized crowd of cooks, cashiers and other Connecticut fast-food workers chanted as they marched outside the McDonald’s on Albany Avenue in Hartford Monday morning.
“We hope to get the message that $10.10 an hour is not enough and we need more and we deserve more. That and union rights,” said Richard Grimes. Grimes works at a Burger King in Hartford and joined in the Labor Day strike, hoping Connecticut legislators would take notice.
“We need more we deserve more and that's why we are out here early this morning,” said Grimes.
Many of the groups participating in Monday’s protests are also pushing for union rights as an economic fix. Other people said they the wage increase is simply about survival.
“To get higher wages, it's hard where we live at, so like we need money to survive,” said Kayla Foreman, an employee at McDonald’s in Bridgeport.
“We need this $15 to survive, this $10.10 an hour is not enough,” said Nayya Malachi, a Dunkin Donuts employee in New Haven.
Connecticut’s minimum wage bumped up to $10.10 an hour at the beginning of 2017. While not all lawmakers are in support of a minimum wage increase, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, who is running for Connecticut Governor, stands by the supporters.
“They have a right to organize and they should make more money. They work hard and they deserve a living wage,” said Mayor Drew.
NBC Connecticut reached out to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Connecticut branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) on Monday morning, to see if they had a response to the protests. However, taking into consideration that Monday is Labor Day, there was not an immediate response.
What was clear from protesters was that the wage debate is a wager they are willing to bet on.
“This is going to win us $15 an hour,” said Grimes.