Co-byline with Anthony Mendicino
Market Square was buzzing on April 15 at noon and not just from the lunch crowd. A large crowd had started to grow in a pre-rally for the global Fight for 15 protests that took place in over 200 cities around the world.
The rally attracted people from SIEM 15, UPMS, United Steelworkers, fast food workers, Fight Back Pittsburgh, security guards, adjunct teachers, students and more.
For several protesters, this wasn’t their first rally.
“This is my third or fourth,” said Will Boas, a worker at the Northside McDonald’s. “And the turnout is better and bigger with every strike we have. The hope is it’ll get better as the day goes on.”
Boas was there in solidarity with his fellow workers.
“I’m here to stand with workers for better wages, better work conditions and a better level of respect,” Boas said.
Ashona Osborne, an employee of the Edgewood Arby’s, and Lolene Germany, from the KFC in Wilmsburgh, were there together on their fourth strike as well.
“Full-time workers should get full-time wages,” Osborne said. “We’re the ones doing the work… I want to be comfortable like my boss is comfortable.”
Germany wanted people to understand the hardship faced by those on minimum wage.
“They tell us to go to school and get a degree, but even when you’re in school, you’ve got bills to pay,” Germany said. “We want people to understand the struggle.”
She also asked corporations to realize the sacrifice minimum wage workers made for their benefit.
“We are how you’re able to do for your families. We just want to do the same [for ours],” she said.