The group was part of thousands of workers striking in 300 U.S. cities
for a $15 minimum wage and a union. In Florida, Miami, Hollywood, Tampa and West Palm Beach also saw protests from fast-food, health-care, child-care and other low-wage workers. The protests come after both New York and California agreed to raise their minimum wage to $15.
"In Florida, low pay forces about one-third of underpaid workers to rely on public assistance to support their families, costing taxpayers over $11 billion a year," says Jackie de Carvalho, spokesperson for SEIU Florida, in a press release. "And nationwide, nearly three-quarters of people aided by public assistance are members of a family headed by a worker, costing taxpayers more than $150 billion."
Orlando's protesters blocked traffic on I-Drive until they reached the "World's Largest Entertainment" McDonald's on Sand Lake Road. Police officers and McDonald's customers looked on as they chanted "We work! We sweat! Put $15 on our check."
Shantasha “Cookie” Ross brought along her 4-year-old daughter to the protest.
Nearby, Sodexo employees who work at Disney World protested at the Crossroads of Lake Buena Vista near Disney Springs for a union, says Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362. Clinton says about 340 people employed by the third-party vendor work in the cafeterias that serve Disney employees.
"We want a fair process in place where we're able to sit equally across the table and negotiate a contract, which includes wage increases, vacation amounts," he says. "Schedule changes and treatment by management are issues. We want fairness on the job."
At least 200 people marched down International Drive Thursday afternoon to let Orlando's tourists and residents know one thing: "We can't survive on $8.05."