Fast Food Strikes and Protests to Hit 150 U.S. Cities And 30 Countries on May 15

Search form

Fast Food Strikes and Protests to Hit 150 U.S. Cities And 30 Countries on May 15

Fast Food Strikes and Protests to Hit 150 U.S. Cities And 30 Countries on May 15
Tue, 5/13/2014 - by Josh Eidelson
This article originally appeared on Salon

On May 15, fast food workers plan to mount one-day strikes in 150 U.S. cities, accompanied by protests in 30 countries, labor sources tell Salon. Organizers expect the walkouts to spread for the first time to cities including Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, and Sacramento, and to involve thousands of total workers, including hundreds each in cities including St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Abroad, May 15 fast food protests – many of them targeting McDonald’s in particular – are planned in cities including Karachi, Casablanca, London, Sao Paolo, Dublin, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Geneva, and San Salvador, as well as locations in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Japan.

Activists plan to hold a teach-in outside McDonald’s head office in Auckland, New Zealand; to stage flash mobs at five McDonald’s locations in the Philippines, and to shut down a major McDonald’s during lunchtime in Belgium. The following day, fast food workers in Italy plan to mount their own strike, staging protests in Rome, Milan, and Venice and shutting down stores for the day.

The actions were discussed last week in New York at an international gathering of union leaders and fast food workers from dozens of countries, called by the global union federation IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations). They mark the latest escalation in the showdown between an embattled U.S. labor movement and a fast food industry whose jobs are increasingly prevalent and representative of work in America’s post-crash economy.

“I’m tired of trying to make ends meet and they’re not meeting…” Richmond, Virginia, Burger King employee Crystal Travis told Salon before joining a 100-city strike last December. “I don’t make enough to even have Christmas.”

As I’ve reported, the campaign’s demands are $15 per hour wages and the chance to freely form a union; its primary funder and director is the Service Employees International Union; and its tactics include a mix of media, legal, political, and workplace pressure on the industry. Like high-profile recent organizing efforts against non-union targets including Wal-Mart, the campaign has sought to use short-term strikes by small minorities of the workforce as anchors for broader campaigns to engage co-workers and embarrass management, even without generally shutting down places of business.

Over the past two months, the campaign has hailed the filing of wage theft lawsuits against McDonald’s, the announcement of a mayor-backed plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 over the next decade, and the release of research showing a 543-to-1 fast food CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2012.

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The National Council of Chain Restaurants dismissed last August’s walkout on the grounds that “a few scattered protests organized by outside labor groups hardly amounts to a nationwide ‘strike’ or movement”; McDonald’s emphasized prior to the subsequent December walkout that both the corporation and its franchisees are “committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed.”

In a March report filed with the SEC, McDonald’s acknowledged that labor efforts including strikes and protests “can adversely affect us.” A December internal memo from the National Restaurant Association, obtained by Salon, concludes that “almost none of the protesters” at that month’s actions “were actual workers,” but that organizers “were able to manufacture ‘rent-a-mob protests in more cities,” and their efforts “are becoming more coordinated and centrally organized” than before.

Originally published by Salon

Article Tabs

We must shift the national plan of action – taking the climate justice fight to the extraction hot spots, from Appalachia to Alaska and from the heartland to the coastal rigs and carbon export terminals.

It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and it makes us mad enough to march – for those generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren, and their children.

The Rolling Jubilee group that grew out of Occupy Wall Street has purchased and eliminated a portfolio of private student loans worth millions at Corinthian Colleges in California.

Our window of opportunity to mitigate the climate crisis is narrow – and while it sometimes feels like an impossible burden, history shows people-powered movements like ours have succeeded before.

The solution to climate change is a system change – grounded in human rights and ecological stewardship, where communities and workers are in charge of investment priorities ensuring the right to live and work with dignity.

If you're planning to take to the streets in New York City or elsewhere this week, know that today's IMSI technology used by police or the FBI could greatly affect the privacy of your cell phone and protest communications.

Posted 4 days 1 hour ago

Organizers haven't been shy about their underlying intentions: using the September march in Manhattan as a platform on which to build an international environmental social movement unlike any previously seen.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Shifting toward community-based renewable power is a strong thread running through Scotland's Radical Independence Campaign, and a free Scotland could inspire other countries to relinquish their fossil fuel addiction.

Posted 4 days 21 hours ago

"We know it is fraud. They know it is fraud. We look to anyone brave enough to stand up and defend the rights of the people," says homeowner defender Sherry Hernandez.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago

The history of resistance movements shows that when 3.5% of a population mobilizes on an issue, no government can withstand it – and organizers hope the climate justice movement can reach that level.

Posted 2 days 23 hours ago

The film does a grave disservice to whistleblowers Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

“So you get 25 years in prison for forcibly entering your way into a computer, but one year in prison for forcibly entering your way into a female?” said Deric Lostutter, who exposed the rape of a girl in Steubenville, Ohio, and is now facing criminal charges.

Hammond appears for sentencing Friday in Manhattan and could face 10 years in prison for hacking the security firm Stratfor and exposing its infiltration, monitoring and surveillance of nonviolent protesters for corporations and the security state.

The ruling allows wealthy individuals to buy unlimited influence.

National Geographic

Tar sands in Utah, like in Canada, contain a form of petroleum called bitumen that can be refined into gasoline. But the process is costly, energy-intensive, and on a life-cycle basis releases far more global warming pollutants than conventional oil refining operations.

Sign Up