Fast Food Protest: Labor Union Activists Could Escalate Situation

A fast food protest could escalate beyond civil disobedience soon. As labor union workers fight for the right of McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other similar restaurant employees to become unionized and paid better, we could see riots.

Fast Food Forward organizing director Kendall Fells says that employees have been trained to engage peacefully in civil disobedience, and it remains to be seen how this will work. Normally when people get upset, they don’t always stay peaceful.

The riots in Ferguson, Missouri have shown just how far people will go when they’re upset enough. However, this protest isn’t about police brutality or injustice. It’s about fast food employees earning a decent wage and receiving legal representation when there is a dispute.

Employees in approximately 150 cities across the United States have been performing “sit-ins,” among other forms of nonviolent and non-disruptive forms of fast food protest. So far these activities have not caused many disruptions to regular customer service in these restaurants.

People don’t always follow the rules, however, and as the movement for higher pay and unionized labor goes into action this week, we may see the situation rise beyond mere disturbances and civil disobedience.

It has been rumored that when the plan begins this Thursday, employees of restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken will walk off the job to hold up signs demanding higher wages and union involvement.

In this economy, it might not be difficult to simply fire these employees and hire new ones. Unemployment isn’t exactly dropping, and people are still struggling to find work. The movement could backfire on protesters if this happens.

One such employee, Nancy Salgado, works at McDonald’s in Chicago’s Logan Square and claims to bring home about $600 a month. After rent and utilities split among three roommates, this leaves the single mother with very little to feed herself and her two young children.

Anyone working below management in fast food alone earns less than the national poverty level and usually needs at least a second job to make ends meet. Many are having trouble even finding the first job.

For a family of four, the poverty threshold is $23,000 a year, and if the fast food protest works the way they hope it will, more people will be able to make it on just one job.

While many employees of these restaurant chains have a good reason to take part in this week’s fast food protest, there are others who would love to take the jobs the protesters have. Add to this the possibility of violent escalation and this could be a rather large gamble for all involved.

[image via Latest News Link]