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Fighting for minimum wage high on city’s West Side

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

The fight in Albany over a raise in the state's minimum wage was accompanied by a protest on Buffalo's West Side Thursday. It was staged in front of a McDonald's on Niagara Street.

"What do we want? Minimum wages. When do we want them? Now," was the chant of those rallying for a hike in the minute wage rate.

McDonald's restaurants across the country has become a prime focus in the fights over minimum wages, especially after recent arrests of protestors and union officials outside the company headquarters in a Chicago suburb.

The local protest on a rainy afternoon included a variety of groups pushing for the minimum wage hikes, with some mentioning the Seattle vote establishing a 15-dollars an hour rate, although that's being challenged in court.

State Senator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo was at the protest, blasting an alliance of Republicans and dissident Democrats in Albany blocking a raise in New York to ten-dollars and ten-cents an hour.

"Those folks that are working 40-60 hours a week shouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck and those folks that are working 40 to 60 hours and want to live to the American dream they have the opportunity to achieve that and they don't have to worry about the shelter over their heads and feeding their kids and making sure they have all of the things they should have," said Kennedy.

Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
Protesting for a higher minimum wage outside the McDonald's on Niagara Street in Buffalo.

It's not likely the State Legislature will raise the minimum wage this year although in these last days of the session anything can happen. After legislative action last year, the state minimum wage will rise to nine-dollars an hour in 20-16.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.