At least 20 people were detained Tuesday in Detroit during the Fight for $15 rally, during which hundreds of employees, activists and leaders marched for union rights for fast food workers. The national Fight for $15 movement advocates for a raise in minimum wage to $15 per hour for fast food, airline, and childcare workers, among others. The protest aims to garner support for pro-union candidates in the November elections.
WXYZ reported among those arrested were former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and House of Representative candidate Rashida Tlaib, who is poised to become the first Muslim-American woman in Congress.
Tlaib and El-Sayed were arrested after refusing to move from a table that was set in the middle of Woodward Street at the rally. According to Detroit Police Deputy Chief Elvin Barren, those arrested are to receive citations for disorderly conduct misdemeanors and court dates.
El-Sayed tweeted about the incident, explaining how corporations disproportionately distribute funding to CEOs and the protest cause is worth supporting.
“They’re fighting for access for something as simple as the right to a fair wage for the work that they do, and if we’re not willing to put our own bodies on the line in service of that fight, then we have to ask ourselves whether or not the words mean anything,” El-Sayed said. “In the face of injustice, dissent is dignity. And there’s a real responsibility we have to fight against the system that works against so many people.”
Tlaib also tweeted in response, affirming her solidarity for the movement and the right to organize.
“The right to organize and build unions in our country is how we fight back for good jobs and fair pay.” Tlaib said. “Unfortunately, many have sold us out to greedy corporations who want to take away that right.”
In a sister protest in Flint, Michigan Radio reported eight people were hospitalized after a man drove his truck into a group of protesters in the dark near a fast food restaurant. Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson said he didn’t believe the crash was intentional and described the driver as “shaken up” after the event.
Michigan Gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer was at the rally in Flint, and expressed her remorse, saying she was “incredibly sad.”