by Mitchell Hirsch
Fast food workers raised the stakes today in their fight for a $15 an hour wage floor and union rights, with thousands walking off the job in one-day strikes and protests at establishments including McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s in 150 U.S. cities.
Since the fast food strikes first began nearly two years ago in New York City, the campaign has expanded rapidly to more cities nationwide, engaging many thousands more workers. Today in Kansas City, Missouri, Wendy’s worker Latoya Caldwell captured the sense that the fast food workers’ actions are helping to transform the broader fight to raise wages, especially for low-wage and minimum wage workers, saying: “We’re a movement now.”
For the first time, many of the strike actions today included planned protests involving public sit-ins – civil disobedience reminiscent of the civil rights movement — as workers took arrests to bring added attention to their fight for livable wages and union rights. And also for the first time, home care workers joined the fast food workers in the ‘Fight for $15.’ The protests today quickly gained media attention across the country, with workers vowing to do whatever it takes to win their demands.
Here was the scene outside the McDonald’s in New York City’s Times Square this morning as workers peacefully protested and prepared to take arrests:
Front-line workers at the largest and most profitable fast food companies are currently among the nation’s lowest paid workers, earning a median wage of only $8.94 an hour with many paid at or near the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
NELP’s Tsedeye Gebreselassie appeared today on MSNBC’s The Reid Report with Joy Reid to discuss the significance of the growing ‘Fight for $15’ movement:
Today’s fast food strikes and protests come on the heels of recent advances in the fight for higher wages, including the $15 minimum wage victory in Seattle, Washington, and the proposal by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to raise LA’s minimum to $13.25.
Check out the nationwide rundown of stories and photos from today’s historic #StrikeFastFood actions atwww.strikefastfood.org.