Nearly two dozen fast food workers were arrested in Manhattan on Thursday morning as part of a nationwide effort to demand higher wages, authorities said.

Police arrested 19 people -- 14 men and 5 women -- for sitting in front of a Times Square McDonald's and allegedly blocking vehicular traffic. They were charged with disorderly conduct, police said.

The Times Square strike was one of several Thursday in which workers vowed to use peaceful, civil disobedience to demand an hourly rate of $15, according to organizers. Strikes took place in 150 cities. .

City Comptroller Scott Stringer has been a proponent of a raise for fast food workers. As comptroller, Stringer is in charge of the city's pension fund, which holds millions of shares in several fast food companies.

"Fast food workers need money in their pockets to invest in their communities [and] lift the economy - I stand [with] them today," Stringer wrote on Twitter. "Every worker deserves a livable wage, and that's why I am here to support striking fast food workers."

President Barack Obama applauded the national effort during a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee on Monday.

"There is no denying a simple truth: America deserves a raise," he said. "And I think, eventually, Congress is going to hear them. We'll break those folks down."

Thursday's strike was the latest in a series of similar efforts workers have staged over the last two years, organizers said.