WEST MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A protest involving fast food workers who are demanding a higher minimum wage led to several arrests in West Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon, September 4th. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was among those arrested.
Employees say they want better wages. They are demanding $15/hour minimum wage and the right to form a union.
“Quite frankly, it’s deleterious to our economy for them not to have the minimum wage, so I’m standing with them during this civil disobedience,” Rep. Moore said during Thursday’s protest.
Fast food workers walked off the job on Thursday — and Rep. Moore joined them, but she would soon find herself in police custody.
“25 workers and a Congresswoman — I think that’s the best headline we’ve had yet,” Jennifer Epps-Addison, the executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now said.
Epps-Adson is one of the organizers who led the group of workers and supporters to three different Milwaukee fast food restaurants Thursday morning, eventually making their way to the Burger King on Capitol Drive.
These workers don’t just want $15/hour. They also want the ability to form a union without retaliation.
The crowd followed Rep. Moore and others who were arrested to the West Milwaukee Police Department Thursday — waiting outside until they were released.
“It’s time for us people to make a stand. It’s time that we stop being abused by these corporations and stand up for what’s important and what’s right and stand up for our families and our people,” Javon Walker, who was cited for disorderly conduct said.
Each of those cited on Thursday were slapped with a $691 fine.
“I’ll be saving my pennies to pay this $691 fine,” Rep. Moore said.
Rep. Moore had this to say about her arrest, as she was released:
“We’ve been arguing. I have been debating this. I’ve put on my suit — my best suit and my briefcase and debated it and that hasn’t worked, so now I’m prepared to put myself in the way,” Rep. Moore said.
Rep. Moore was voted into office in 2004. She represents Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District. She is up for re-election in November.
An organizer of Thursday’s demonstration says workers in 14 Wisconsin communities walked off the job on this day. That organizer says they’ll be returning to work on Friday.