'Not clowns:' Protest at Durham McDonald's for pay hike

DURHAM (WTVD) -- In the latest battle in the war for a $15 minimum wage, these local low-wage workers framed the debate as an economic crisis -- poor families trapped in poverty with no way out.

"There must be a new rising of justice for workers across the South!" NC NAACP President, the Rev. William Barber, proclaimed to the demonstrators.

Local workers joined in on the push for better pay on Wednesday, with some demonstrations blocking traffic during rush hour.

"McDonald's, over the last 2 years, made $13 billion," Barber said. "They pay the people who dress up in the clown suit $40,000 a year. (These workers) are not clowns, they're parents!"

A group gathered outside a Durham McDonald's around 6 a.m. holding signs and chanting. The demonstration started back up Thursday afternoon, this time with dozens of participants.

Demonstrators in Durham painted a united front; Teachers, child-care workers stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fast-food workers.

Peter Pihos lectures at Duke and brought his daughter along for the protest.

"It's brought lots of different groups working together on similar issues together to raise our voices collectively," Pihos said.

Minimum wage demonstration outside Durham McDonald's

Police blocked off the road near downtown Durham for the demonstration on East Morgan Street.

The workers join a national movement called the "Fight for 15" in hopes of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

They staged the event on the front door of the Morgan Street McDonald's with the belief that if corporate giant McDonald's boosts it pay, employers across the country will be forced to follow suit.

It comes on the heels of historic wins in California, New York, and Pennsylvania where the minimum wage will eventually be raised to $15.

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