Fight for 15: Fast food workers protest to raise minimum wage

Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 24, 2017

Kansas City voters approved a city minimum wage of $10/hour. But some said the measure is more symbolic than anything else. 

State lawmakers have set a floor of $7.70 an hour.  That goes into effect August 28.

Because of the state measure, Deon Henderson joined hundreds of fast food workers protesting statewide. 

The 23- year-old said his fight couldn’t be more pressing. 

“I’m fighting for my son, so that he can have a wage and better life than I did," he said. "I’ve been through the struggle my whole life.  I’ve been homeless, lived in a car with my family.  And I don’t want my son to experience that, so I’m out here striking and fighting.”

Henderson is part of the group Stand Up KC. 

Members marched to the Missouri Restaurant Association to make their voices heard. 

They also decided to lay down in the office parking lot for four minutes, 9 seconds.  They did so in memory of 49-year-old Myrna Delos Santos.  A fast food worker, they say died because she couldn’t afford adequate healthcare.

The protest comes the same day the Kansas City Public Library announced the minimum wage for its employees will be $10, effective immediately. 

Library Director Crosby Kemper III says it’s the right thing to do and paying a decent wage also helps with recruitment and retention. 

“All of us individually in our individual institutions; we ought to be looking at ways we can help the people that need the help," he said. 

The library’s announcement and the protest from Stand Up KC comes just four days before the statewide minimum wage is rolled back.  Of course, employers can still pay above the minimum wage.  Henderson and others said they will continue to fight until the fast food industry decides to do just that. 

“And I’m not going to stop until we get what we deserve,” he said.