A fast-food worker strike planned for Thursday is expected to draw scores of protesters nationwide as employees call for the minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour.
Organizers have been preparing workers for the protest in several cities. In Detroit, where earlier this year a fast-food protest forced a McDonald’s location to close for the day, the protest is expected to start at 5 am in several restaurants.
“We are still standing strong and we’ve gotten stronger,” said W.J. Rideout III, an activist and pastor of All God’s People Church in Detroit. “We’re trying to increase the minimum wage, and it’s working.”
Workers in other cities — including Richmond, Virginia — are planning to strike as well.
“I don’t think a CEO should make millions while his own employees are only making $7 or $8 an hour,” says Richmond Pastor Rodney Hunter with the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, who will be speaking at Thursday’s fast-food strike. “The cost of living continues to rise and income levels stay the same, it just can’t go on that way.”
The strike comes on the heels of another massive protest against fast food restaurant working conditions. A fast-food worker strike over the summer reached more than 100 cities in America as employees demanded higher wages.
The summer protests took place in a close to 100 American cities, including New York, Boston, and Chicago. In Detroit, one McDonald’s location had to close for the day after its employees walked out, chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40’s got to go.”
In New York, the crowd of roughly 300 to 400 protesters were joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The fast-food strike was been met with mixed results, as the New York protest marched inside a McDonald’s where few people seemed to know about the protest.
Meanwhile, the fast-food strike garnered support from the White House, some members of Congress and even economists who believe the federal minimum wage should be raised.
“For all too many people working minimum wage jobs, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity are feeling further and further apart,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, a major player in Obama’s push to boost the minimum wage.
Obama has called for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $10.10, still below what the fast-food strike is aiming to reach.