On Thursday, protesters stood in front of fast-food restaurants, chanting for higher pay and holding signs in both English and Spanish. In New York, at least three people wearing McDonald's uniforms were hauled away by police officers after standing in the middle of a busy street near Times Square. About two dozen protesters were handcuffed in Detroit after they wouldn't move out of a street near a McDonald's restaurant.Pictures were flooding into Twitter from strike locations in Houston, Richmond, Charlotte, Denver, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. In Chicago, organizers said one McDonald's was "essentially shut down. No workers only management inside"; later, hundreds of workers and allies blocked a street. As planned, home care workers are out marching with fast food workers in some cities.
There's no doubt that this is a national movement, and one that's propelling city and state minimum wage debates; most recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed an order raising the minimum wage for city contractors to $13 an hour, a move that will give raises to about 1,000 workers. Pictures of the protests also suggest that the movement is growing within cities, that Thursday's events are larger than the last wave of fast food strikes, which were larger than the ones before them. But the fast food industry is powerful, and this movement will need to keep growing, to get more workers to walk off the job and shut down restaurants, if it's going to affect the industry's practices in places where city and state governments will not raise the minimum wage or take action to crack down on wage theft.