Eight arrested at Wilkinsburg McDonald's in protest for wage hike

Ronald Poole was wearing his McDonald’s uniform and being put into an Edgewood police car Thursday when he explained why he was blocking the street to advocate for a pay raise.

“My family is worth going to jail for. I’ve got to rob Peter to pay Paul,” said Mr. Poole, 42, of the North Side, who has worked for the McDonald’s restaurant on Allegheny Avenue on the North Side off and on for 20 years. He makes $7.25 an hour.

Eight people were arrested during the midday protest for sitting in the middle of the eastbound lane of Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg in front of the McDonald’s restaurant there. Police blocked the lane, with their cars stopping traffic, and then one-by-one arrested each of the protesters. The protesters had linked arms together, but they gave up to the police without a struggle.

About 150 other protesters stayed on the sidewalk, chanting that they wanted $15 an hour now and “if we don’t get it, shut it down.”

The protest followed morning demonstrations on the North Side and in Bellevue. All of the protests were part of a national 150-city fast-food strike, with cooks and cashiers walking off their jobs to demand $15 an hour and union representation. The rallies are being organized by One Pittsburgh and Fight for $15, which are both funded by the Service Employees International Union.

On Thursday, organizers said protesters were arrested in Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Ark., and New York City.

The fast-food wage fight started at a McDonald’s restaurant in New York City two years ago.



Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699. First Published September 4, 2014 1:06 PM

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