Read

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

Sign Up

Article Tabs

U.K. housing prices, soaring home prices, soaring rent costs, Eviction Resistance, housing bubble mortgage-backed securities, Great Recession, rising homelessness

Housing prices in London have risen by 50% in the last five years – and when the UK property bubble goes boom, it will be proportionally bigger than the U.S. housing bust at the onset of the financial crisis in 2007.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, corporate trade deals, Investment Court System, German Magistrates Association, Investor State Dispute Settlement, ISDS, Global Justice Now

The German Magistrates Association (DRB) last week dealt a major blow to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as judges said special courts allowing firms to sue countries were unnecessary and "had no legal basis."

Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands, TransCanada, carbon emissions, pipeline projects, NAFTA, corporate trade deals, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, Investor State Dispute Settlement, ISDS

The Canadian oil giant is suing under the provisions of NAFTA because the U.S. rejected the Keystone pipeline – and demanding an amount that would cover annual community college tuition costs for nearly five million U.S. students.

Fascinating, creative initiatives around the world – from co-operative finance and crowdequity schemes to alternative currencies and reclaiming the public's control over money-creation – are emerging to strengthen the commons.

Housing costs are skyrocketing in Seattle – up 12% for a family home in the last year – and a 2012 study in the Journal of Urban Affairs showed that an increase of $100 in median rents results in a 15% increase in the homeless population.

This week we passed the five-year anniversary of Tahrir Square, but do we even know – or care – what's happening there now, and do we see the parallels with what's going on right here? We speak with an Egyptian activist who sets the record straight.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago
Chinese economic integration, Chinese financial power, G7 nations, emerging market power, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Asian Development Bank

China and other emerging economies, frustrated by their lack of representation in global financial decision-making, could potentially create their own parallel institutions and, in the long term, construct a parallel or opposing economic system altogether.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago
Flint water poisoning, Flint water contamination, Flint lead poisoning, water privatization, Rick Snyder, Darnell Earley

Incidences of poisoned water, not isolated to Flint, are snowballing into a colossal emblem of government's prioritization of corporate interests and profit over the basic health and human rights of citizens.

Posted 4 days 1 hour ago

The media, which came to the story so late, can only process so much – but if you live in Flint or the State of Michigan as I do, you know all too well that what the greater public has been told about the water crisis only scratches the surface.

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago

Congressional hearings on the Flint water crisis were convened on Wednesday – but two people who should be in the hot seat weren't there. Next up, Iowa Caucus: Is this what Democracy looks like? And Obama signs the TPP.

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago

The media, which came to the story so late, can only process so much – but if you live in Flint or the State of Michigan as I do, you know all too well that what the greater public has been told about the water crisis only scratches the surface.

The complaint filed last week in a U.S. District Court alleges the biotech giant knew its PCBs were polluting the environment and causing harm to people and wildlife.

Housing costs are skyrocketing in Seattle – up 12% for a family home in the last year – and a 2012 study in the Journal of Urban Affairs showed that an increase of $100 in median rents results in a 15% increase in the homeless population.

By 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, up to 1,000 protesters were at the Sky City Convention Centre. Their aim? Disrupt proceedings for as long as possible, and by late morning they were succeeding in shutting down large parts of the capital.

The federal agency warned of an unfolding toxic water crisis in Flint but was “met with resistance” by Michigan authorities, a fiery congressional hearing into the city’s public health disaster revealed Wednesday.