OBERLIN — A dozen people stood in front of McDonald’s on South Main Street in Oberlin with signs in protest for higher wages for fast food employees, joining a nationwide protest on Thursday.
Walkouts and rallies were planned across the United States, but the group that stood in front of the McDonald’s was not affiliated with the restaurant.
“I’m here because I’m a retired Ford worker and we made a decent wage, but we had to organize to get it,” said Quincy Land Jr., of Oberlin. “Before I went to Ford, there was no unions at the time, and it was always no. No vacation, no sick time, no representation.
“Somebody fought for me, so I’m going to fight for someone else.”
Land, vice-president of the Oberlin chapter of the NAACP, stood alongside other protesters who held signs that read, “I flipped burgers and couldn’t afford to eat one” and “I love McDonald’s workers.”
Parker McCurley, of Westlake, said he has sympathy for the employees, many of whom are earning Ohio’s minimum wage, which is $7.85 per hour. The group peacefully protested outside during the lunch hour, with many leaving the area by 1 p.m.
McCurley said support from the public had been mixed.
“They’ve either been honking in support or just shaking their heads when they walked in to get a burger,” he said.
Oberlin College student Jackson Kusiak said a manager at the restaurant came out to provide hot chocolate to protesters and had some discussion with the group. He said the manager discussed opportunities for McDonald’s employees to advance in the industry.
Steve Payne also spoke with the protesters. Payne said his son owns the Oberlin restaurant.
“I remember being a paperboy and getting a nickel a paper — a buck and a half for three hours,” he said.
Management at the restaurant declined to comment on the protest when approached Thursday.
Chief Photographer Bruce Bishop contributed to this story.