Good morning. If you’re like me and grew up watching Michael Jordan play basketball, last night was probably pretty weird for you. Anyway:

1. Fast food workers are striking today in Durham.

As part of a global day of protest against poor wages and working conditions for the second year in a row, fast food employees and other underpaid workers are striking in Durham today for a $15 minimum wage and a union. There will be a morning picket line at the McDonald’s at 102 East Morgan St., followed by a panel discussion at noon at NCCU’s Criminal Justice Building and a larger rally at 5 PM tonight with workers from across the state, as well as NC NAACP chairman Rev. Dr. William J. Barber.

North Carolina’s union membership is traditionally low (partly due to its longstanding ban on collective bargaining for public employees) and currently the second-lowest in the country, but there are some signs of life: last year, it saw the eight-highest growth in the country when its membership shot up a full percentage point to three percent of the workforce. Although union membership across the country stagnated last year and has declined over the past few decades overall, the South’s is starting to slowly climb and show some success in labor’s effort to organize the South.

The Fight for $15 movement, which has rather quietly developed into one of labor’s biggest successes in years, is hot off its two biggest victories to date, getting a gradual $15 minimum wage in California and New York over the next several years. Coupled with the forty thousand Verizon workers currently on strike across the country (and the Democratic presidential candidates showing support for them), and hey, maybe labor isn’t dead after all, although getting a $15 minimum wage through this legislature is going to be one hell of an uphill battle.

2. Officer D.C. Twiddy cleared of charges in Akiel Denkins’ death.

Yesterday, Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman announced that she’s not going to press charges against Raleigh police offer D.C. Twiddy for the shooting death of Akiel Denkins on February 29. From the report:

Based on all the evidence available, it is the conclusion of the District Attorney that Officer Twiddy shot Mr. Denkins in self-defense and as a matter of last resort and only because he reasonably believed his own life was in danger. This belief can be shown by the fact that Mr. Denkins was armed and grabbed Officer Twiddy’s gun during a struggle in which Officer Twiddy was attempting to lawfully arrest Mr. Denkins. Officer Twiddy’s decision to use deadly force was a lawful response to the situation and deemed necessary to defend himself. With the assistance of senior staff, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has reviewed all the evidence collected through the independent investigation of the SBI and the applicable law and has determined that no criminal charges in this matter are warranted based on the evidence available.

The N&O reported a “heavy police presence” in the area of Southeast Raleigh where Denkins was killed soon after the announcement was made. “I feel like they’re antagonizing us,” Denkins’ sister told reporters.

3. Today in HB 2 backlash…

  • Six senators, including Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver yesterday asking him to move next year’s All-Star game from Charlotte.
  • Ringo Starr announced he was canceling his NC concert, while Cyndi Lauper announced she would donate the profits from her show to Equality NC. Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace told BuzzFeed that she and her band are performing in North Carolina “as a form of protest,” which rules.
  • The Republican Party is tearing itself apart over HB 2.
  • The Airhorn Orchestra officially began!
  • Pat McCrory continues to insist he’s not a broken man, and said that Bruce Springsteen has “Maybe Bruce has lost touch with the working men and women as he makes multi-millions of dollars,” which is an unintentionally hilarious thing for a former Duke Energy executive to say about the guy who wrote “Factory”:

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