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

Plains All American, Surfrider Foundation, oil spill, Santa Barbara,

New details have emerged about Plains All American's long history of generating similar disasters.

The U.S. ranks among the most unequal countries, surpassed only by Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

$15 minimum wage, low wage workers, fast-food worker strikes, Fight for 15, minimum wage hikes

Some of the biggest cities in America are now defying decades of economic orthodoxy and challenging social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable.

Joseph Stiglitz, Bernie Sanders, new populism, democratic populism, wealth inequality, income inequality, Next System Project

It's time to begin the careful work of knitting together broad, pluralistic conceptions of what a transformed system might look like.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, corporate trade deals, whistleblowers, fast track, Trade Promotion Authority

Letter signed by more than 250 firms demands greater transparency and says "dangerously vague" language would criminalize whistleblowers.

Britain’s election shows it's no longer a united kingdom, that Scottish independence is increasingly likely – and that the new Conservative government will only further fracture an already deeply unequal society.

Posted 6 days 6 hours ago

The tide of public resistance against a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union is rising in Germany, as opponents say the plan would harm democracy and rule of law.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago
fracking ban, Denton fracking, anti-fracking legislation, Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago

The Balkan country has been thrown into political crisis with the government implicated in a massive wire-tapping scandal and rigged elections, the opposition leader accused of plotting a coup, and 18 shot dead last week in a bloody gun battle.

Posted 6 days 6 hours ago

The $5.3 trillion subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

Posted 4 days 5 hours ago

The Balkan country has been thrown into political crisis with the government implicated in a massive wire-tapping scandal and rigged elections, the opposition leader accused of plotting a coup, and 18 shot dead last week in a bloody gun battle.

$15 minimum wage, low wage workers, fast-food worker strikes, Fight for 15, minimum wage hikes

Some of the biggest cities in America are now defying decades of economic orthodoxy and challenging social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable.

Plains All American, Surfrider Foundation, oil spill, Santa Barbara,

New details have emerged about Plains All American's long history of generating similar disasters.

Retail Workers Bill of Rights, rising inequality, income inequality, wealth gap, Jobs with Justice

Getting the minimum wage raised was the easy part. The bigger challenge is ensuring the legislation has teeth.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, Elizabeth Warren, corporate trade deal, NAFTA

Warren's report detailed decades of failed trade enforcement by American presidents, including the current one.

Sign Up