Arrests made during 'Fight for $15' protest in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Arrests made during 'Fight for $15' protest in Hartford

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Workers rallied for $15 per hour at a McDonald's restaurant in Hartford Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo) Workers rallied for $15 per hour at a McDonald's restaurant in Hartford Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

A number of fast food workers walked out on their jobs early Tuesday morning as part of a "Fight for $15" rally in Hartford. 

About 50 workers demonstrated outside of the McDonald's restaurant on Prospect Street at 6 a.m. to fight for what they believe is a fair wage.

They continued to protest on Tuesday evening, and police said 12 people were arrested.

Shouts of "If we don't get it, shut it down" could be heard during the protests.

They said they were passionate and determined because they're struggling to make ends meet.

"I make $9.60 an hour, and I don't get enough hours to pay my bills," said Breaunna Jones, a McDonald's employee.

On Tuesday, it was announced that starting Jan. 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Connecticut will go to $10.10 an hour.

The protests in the capital city are part of a national movement with workers in more than 340 cities taking part.

Tuesday's demonstrations mark the fourth anniversary of the "Fight for $15."

"Fifteen dollars, 40 hours and I actually had about $150 extra that I could put away for hard times," said Yvonne Rodriguez, a Dunkin' Donuts employee.

Fast-food employees were joined by workers from other sectors, including airport workers and Uber drivers.

Employees said they are fighting for workers' rights, healthcare and a minimum wage of $15 per hour. 

"I see it happening as long as we continue to fight the way we are," Jones said. "We're going to get the $15 an hour. I have high hopes."

While the minimum wage in Connecticut is set to increase by 50 cents in about four weeks to $10.10, employees told Eyewitness News that they believe they're worth more.

"We are only fighting for what we deserve and for what is right for us, and we won't stop," Rodriguez said.

McDonald's released a statement about the rallies on Tuesday morning.

"McDonald’s takes seriously our role in helping strengthen communities as we and our franchisees separately employ hundreds of thousands of people, providing many with their very first job," said Terri Hickey, spokesperson for McDonald's. "We invest in opportunities for McDonald’s employees to finish high school, earn a college degree and develop the valuable skills necessary to build successful careers even beyond our restaurants."

The employees held another protest at a McDonald's on Washington Street in Hartford at 5 p.m.

About 100 people protested, prompting Washington Street to close for a period of time.

Police said these protests cost about $5,000 to $10,000 because of road closures and manpower.

Some child care providers and parents gathered at the state capitol Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in support of the "Care-4-Kids" program, a subsidized program in jeopardy because of a $5 million deficit. 

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