Fast food strikes are sweeping seven cities Monday morning as thousands of workers walked off their jobs. Some say this may be the largest of such labor strikes in US history.
Striking workers plan to demonstrate for four days. Bloomberg News says the strikers are demanding $15 per hour in pay. Fast food workers are also asking to be able to form a union without facing retaliation from management.
Those participating include workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, and Subway.
Several political groups have helped organize the strikes, including New York Communities For Change, Action Now, Jobs With Justice, and the Service Employees International Union.
These are not the first fast food strikes in the US this year. In April a number of retail and fast food workers demonstrated for higher wages. That saw workers from Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret joining workers from restaurants like KFC and McDonald’s. These fast food strikes lead to few changes, however.
McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has defended their wage paying practices. Thompson says that McDonald’s is an “above minimum-wage employer.” He and others point to the fact that food service is one of the most rapidly expanding areas in the US economy, even in the current economic downturn.
Salon says that despite this, those on strike say they are often asked to do “the work of three people” but get paid a single wage. Under-staffing is responsible for this, they explain. Others say they are simply unable to live on a $7.25 an hour minimum-wage.
Attempts in recent years to raise the federal minimum-wage from $7.25 to $9 in Congress have had no success.
Cities participating in the fast food strikes this week include New York City, Detroit and Flint, Michigan, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, Milwaukee, and Chicago.
The video clip below shows some of the fast food strikes from earlier this year and some of the reactions of customers to the workers’ demands. What do you think? Should these workers get a pay increase?