Michigan Democratic congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib was arrested Tuesday at a labor protest in Detroit where she joined service workers who were demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage.
Tlaib was arrested for disorderly conduct when she joined a group of protestors surrounding a table, blocking traffic in front of a McDonalds.
— Ameera David (@AmeeraDavid) October 2, 2018
Tlaib told IJR that the being in the heart of the protest was nothing new to her.
“Civil disobedience has been part of my community organizing activism background,” she said. “I would be doing it even If i wasn’t the Democratic nominee.”
While Tlaib said she’s been detained for civil disobedience before, Tuesday’s demonstration was the first time she was put in handcuffs.
The Democratic nominee was arrested, with about a dozen other demonstrators, who were ultimately released after being charged with misdemeanors.
“I think once police officer said it beautifully, ‘you know we’re on your side,'” she recalled. “So there was a bit of solidarity even through that arrest, it was kind of incredible to witness.”
Tlaib is running unopposed in November and will likely become the first Muslim women ever in Congress. She has made workers’ rights the forefront of her progressive grassroots campaign.
“I felt like the movement for service workers has gotten to this different level where people feel like they deserve it,” Tlaib said. “Where before, you know, we were fighting but people were still scared. There was less fear and more courage.”
Tlaib said the stories she heard from workers at the demonstration inspired her:
“For me it was fuel. As somebody who that’s going into Congress, I don’t think people realize how much that fuel for me makes me even more courageous on these kind of fronts.”
Tlaib continued, “I’m not someone that backs down, I don’t waver.”
The Congressional candidate believes that the benefits of a national minimum wage increase to $15 an hour outweigh the criticisms of the policy.
“No matter how much they’re gonna be pushing back, I think that it’s pretty evident that more money in the hands of people, regular Americans, is actually beneficial to all of us,” she said.
Fight for 15 praised the congressional candidate’s involvement in Tuesday’s demonstration:
Some of the amazing pictures from today's strike in Detroit where @RashidaTlaib, @AbdulElSayed, and fast food workers in the #FightFor15 took part in civil disobedience outside McDonald's to fight for fair wages and #UnionsForAll.
— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) October 2, 2018
Tlaib’s stance on minimum wage and unions echoes that of other progressive Congressional hopefuls such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
Tlaib is hoping that with her stances, Congress will better reflect the American worker.
“Have of my colleagues are millionaires, they’re in an income bracket that fully does not understand the impact of not having union, not having job security, not having an increase in minimum wage,” she said.
“There’s a disconnect that happens and I’m hoping that the service industry, the workers that I met yesterday, that they feel they have a connection.”