Fast food workers from New York, Boston and Philadelphia plan to walk off their jobs Monday evening to demonstate for a $15-an-hour minimum wage during the first presidential debate at Hofstra Univesity.
The restaurant protesters will be joined by “home care workers, child care workers, airport workers and advocates for economic, racial and social justice,” according to a statement issued by organizers.
“When I first went on strike nearly four years ago in New York, everyone thought we were crazy. Fifteen dollars an hour was never going to happen,” said Alvin Major, a Kentucky Fried Chicken worker from New York City who is paid $10.50 an hour. “But we kept walking off the job and raising our voices in the streets, and politicians finally responded to us.
“Now we won $15 per hour in New York, California and cities across the country," he added. "We’ll be out there on Monday to make sure that, as Election Day nears, candidates know that if they want our vote, they need to come get it.”
Protester are planning to assemble at 5:45 p.m. at Front Street and Uniondale Avenue.
“This election, the 64 million workers paid under $15 an hour are bringing together their friends, families, coworkers, church members,” said Alberto Grant Jr., a terminal cleaner at JFK Airport, “because whether you’re an airport cleaner, a home care worker, or a fast-food cook, low wages affect everyone.”
Security at the Long Island university, which will become the first university to host three consecutive presidential debates, is expecting more than 10,000 protesters on Monday, Long Island Press reported. Not all the protesters are expected to be connected to the Fight for $15 demonstration.
“This election is very unique, and first and foremost you look at the two candidates,” acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in a news conference last Monday. “This is a divisive election; it’s a lot of inflammatory conduct in this election.
“Nassau County Police Department will not tolerate any violations of law,” he added. “But we’ll do everything we can to protect people’s rights for free speech.”
Ed Mangano, a Nassau County executive, said at the news conference that no specific threats have been made against the county, but added, “We prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”