Friday, May 16, 2014

Fast Food Workers Strike for $15/hr.

Fast food workers went on strike against McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and other restaurants in 158 American cities Thursday, according to organizers.

Supporters held solidarity actions in some 93 cities spread across 36 countries, according to The organization did not report any strikes taking place in Minnesota, but a number occurred in Wisconsin and a solidarity rally was held in Minneapolis.

“These are billion-dollar companies that can afford to pay their employees better,” organizers said in a statement. “Low-wage jobs are the fastest growing jobs in the nation, and they need to pay more so that workers like us can make ends meet, and so that we can rebuild the middle class and get the economy working again.”

Demands of the strikers include a wage of at least $15 an hour and the right to organize without employer interference.

Thursday marked the most coordinated, sophisticated and biggest fast food protests to date. The group that organized the Minneapolis rally, 15 Now Minnesota, said it hopes to build on the momentum from Thursday – and on recent successes like the passage of a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle – to raise wages in Minneapolis.

According to a recent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development study, the average Twin Cities family four needs two full-time workers making at least $18/hour to meet basic living expenses. With an ever-widening equity gap in cities like Minneapolis, activists believe campaigns like 15 Now can organize low-wage workers to bring pressure from below.

The Minnesota Legislature recently raised the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, phased in over a period of three years.

“$9.50 is a step in the right direction, but achieving a living wage for all will require a grassroots movement of working class people and a broader dialogue,” said Ty Moore, whose campaign for city council highlighted the need for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

> The article above was written by Barb Kucera and is reprinted from WorkdayMinnesota.

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