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December, 8, 2016

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Protesters calling for minimum wage rise arrested

CHICAGO--Dozens of people were arrested Tuesday as they participated in protests nationwide for a US$15 per hour minimum wage.

Fast-food restaurant workers and home and child-care workers rallied in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York. In many cities the protesters blocked busy intersections.

In Chicago, hundreds of protesters at O'Hare International Airport chanted outside terminals: "What do we want? US$15! When do we want it? Now!" Police gated an area to allow travelers room to walk. As many as 500 workers at the airport participated in an unfair labor practices strike, according to officials from Service Employees International Union Local 1 who have been organizing the workers.

"We're not asking for special treatment, we're asking for decent treatment. We're asking for decent wages," said Kisha Rivera, an airplane cabin cleaner at O'Hare. "We're demanding respect."

Thousands planned to walk off the job at McDonald's restaurants, organizers said. The efforts are part of the National Day of Action to Fight for US$15.

In New Jersey, airport workers marched between two terminals at Newark Liberty International Airport. Democratic Mayor Ras Baraka has called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, to raise its minimum wage to US$15 per hour at its facilities and take steps to hire more Newark residents.

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