Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Government / Truck hits minimum-wage demonstrators in Michigan; several hurt (UPDATE)

Truck hits minimum-wage demonstrators in Michigan; several hurt (UPDATE)

A protester lies on a backboard in a street in Flint, Michigan, on Tuesday after a truck barreled into protesters calling for the right to form unions. Police said the crash appears to have been the result of an accident. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

A protester lies on a backboard in a street in Flint, Michigan, on Tuesday after a truck barreled into protesters calling for the right to form unions. Police said the crash appears to have been the result of an accident. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

By COREY WILLIAMS
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Several people were injured before dawn on Tuesday when a pickup truck barreled into a group of protesters calling for higher pay and the right to form unions in Michigan, in what police said appeared to be an accident.

Police Chief Tim Johnson said he doesn’t believe the crash near a fast-food restaurant in Flint was intentional and that the driver “seemed pretty shaken up” afterward. Johnson initially said four or five people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but later said eight were sent to a nearby hospital.

“We just came from the hospital. Several people were getting released,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, a few hours after the protest. “Three still are being observed.”

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer was among those participating in the protest. She wasn’t injured and a post on her Twitter account says she’s “incredibly sad that so many people were hurt.” Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, are both running for governor.

The protests are part of an attempt to elect pro-union candidates in the general election in November. Walkouts are planned in Milwaukee on Wednesday and in Chicago on Thursday. On Thursday, higher-education employees are expected to join fast-food workers in a protest in Miami, Henry said.

The protesters had been walking along the street in the dark when some were struck. Johnson said the driver “acted like he didn’t see them.”

The protest was organized by Fight for $15, a national movement seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast-food, child-care and airline workers, among others. The group also wants the right to start unions or join existing ones.

Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature voted last month to gradually increase the state’s $9.25 minimum wage to $12 by 2022 — keeping the initiative from the November ballot — but lawmakers could water down the law following the election in November.

Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat running for the state Legislature, will join fast-food workers on Tuesday afternoon in Detroit. Tlaib faces competition from the Green and Working Class parties in her bid for Michigan’s 13th House seat.

Officeholders and those seeking election in November who are taking part in the protests “understand that there are too many overworked and underpaid Americans,” said Henry.

And those workers are taking action after seeing minimum wages rise elsewhere. Henry said change can come at the ballot box.

“We are losing patience with an economy that continues to leave us out,” she said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*