BOSTON (CBS) — Fast food workers rallied in Boston Monday to push for union rights, paid family and medical leave, and a $15 minimum wage.
The Fight For $15 rally started outside a McDonalds on Tremont Street across from Boston Common, with attendees chanting things like “We work/we sweat/for $15 on a check.”
One rally-goer, Darius Cephas, told WBZ-TV’s Nick Giovanni that many of the workers were just doing their best to make ends meet.
“You can’t afford rent, bills, and something to put food in the house,” Cephas said. “It’s a lot of things we struggle with, trying to balance between, ‘well, I’ll skip a couple of meals today, and I’ll be able to go to work.’ Or, ‘I skip a couple of meals today and I can pay my rent’ … we have to balance between what’s important and prioritize little things that shouldn’t be needing prioritizing.”
Cephus works at a Chipotle, and said people need to know how difficult it is for these workers to make a living.
“We should be able to eat and be able to go to the grocery store and provide for our families easily,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens. “We shouldn’t be having to go out here every single day and then struggle and struggle and struggle.”
Protesters are also looking for paid sick time. They said it’s not a good idea for them or for fast food customers if they come to work sick.
Some of the employees at the McDonalds walked off their job for the day, striking to join the protest.
After rallying and chanting across from Boston Common, the workers marched to the annual Labor Day breakfast at the Park Plaza Hotel.
About 100 protesters were outside the hotel.
Amity Paye, with SEIU Local 32, said the protests were part of a “day of action” across the nation.
“Workers across the country are striking as part of a big Labor Day Fight For $15 Day of Action, and so fast food workers here in Boston decided to do the same,” she said.
Paye said the problem was especially severe in Boston.
“In Boston in particular we see that the cost of housing is expensive, we see that the cost of living is very expensive, so people are really just looking for the amount of wages they need to survive,” she said.
Paye says it’s almost impossible to make ends meet if you’re making less than $15/hr.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports