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Updated Sep 4, 2014 - 7:10 pm

4 arrested during protest outside Phoenix McDonald's

(Bob McClay/KTAR Photo)

PHOENIX -- A protest outside of a Phoenix McDonald's resulted in the arrests of four people Thursday afternoon.

The event was part of a national protest by fast food workers who want their minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Fast food employees in Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas and Denver also held protests.

About 100 protesters participated in the march that had 24th Street closed between Van Buren and Washington streets for nearly an hour. When police officers were ready to reopen the streets, four protesters were taken into custody when they refused orders to get off of a banner they were sitting on in the street.

The protesters held signs reading, "Fight for $15 and respect," and chanted, "Si Se Puede!" and "Keep the burgers, keep the fries, make our wages supersized!"

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva addressed the crowd and told them that, in addition to the wage increase, they should also have the right to join a union.

"This is about allowing workers, whether they are working in fast food or anywhere, the right to organize and choose who should represent them for their wages, benefits and working conditions," Grijalva said.

He immediately left the march after addressing the crowd and did not talk to reporters.

The protesters came from all over the state. A woman who would only identify herself as "Autumn" works at a Jack in the Box in Tucson, and said she desperately needs the raise.

"I have a baby to feed, and all of the people who work in my restaurant are having trouble paying their bills and feeding their families," she explained.

She started working at the restaurant three months ago and makes just under $8 an hour.

Many of those involved in today's event have been organizers of several immigration protests in the Phoenix area over the last few years. Raquel Teran of the group Mi Familia Vota was there, as was Arizona State Sen. Steve Gallardo.

Gallardo was standing in front of the restaurant when he told the crowd that they're entitled to the raise.

"You have businesses just like the one right behind us that are making a lot of money and profit, yet they refuse to turn some of those profits to their employees to allow their employees to provide for their families," Gallard said. "That's why we're here!"

Dozens of Phoenix police officers were in the area for the protests, and they closed the streets to allow the protesters to march. Traffic returned to normal shortly before 1 p.m.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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