National Politics

Kamala Harris joins protesting McDonald’s workers in Vegas

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to people protesting for higher minimum wage outside of McDonald's, Friday, June 14, 2019, in Las Vegas.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to people protesting for higher minimum wage outside of McDonald's, Friday, June 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. AP Photo

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris marched with protesting and striking McDonald's employees Friday in Las Vegas as the workers called for a $15 minimum wage and better working conditions.

The California senator is the latest presidential candidate to appear with workers of the fast-food franchise as they rally around the country demanding higher pay and the right to a union.

As temperatures approached triple digits Friday afternoon, Harris chanted and helped carry a large banner as she, fast food workers and other activists marched through the parking lot of a McDonald's just east of the Las Vegas Strip.

Some of the marchers included workers at McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants who went on a one-day strike Friday.

"If we want to talk about these golden arches being a symbol of the best of America, well, the arches are falling short," Harris said. "We have got to recognize that working people deserved livable wages."

Harris said she worked at McDonald's when she was a student and "did the french fries and the ice cream," but noted "there was not a family relying on me to pay the rent, put food on the table and keep the bills paid by the end of the month."

Renzo Olivari, a Harris spokesman, said later that the senator worked at McDonald's in college.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Obama housing secretary Julian Castro and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have all appeared with employees of the fast-food giant around the country. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker were expected to join McDonald's workers at a rally in South Carolina on Saturday.

McDonald's Corp. has said it recognizes workers' rights to join labor unions. The company also says it doesn't control wages in their franchise restaurants but that the average starting wage at corporate-owned restaurants exceeds $10 an hour.

Harris is among the majority of Democratic presidential candidates who support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from $7.25.

Earlier Friday, Harris toured a law clinic at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that helps immigrants with deportation proceedings and other legal matters. She then met with some of the law clinic's students and some activists and described her plan to tackle some immigration matters if elected president.

Harris said that upon being sworn in, she would immediately pursue a series of executive actions to make it easier for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally to remain in the country and work.

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