|"We Can't Survive on $7.25!"
What's their beef? Striking fast food workers say low wages
Martha C. White NBC News contributor
You may find yourself waiting longer for McNuggets or a Whopper this week as thousands of workers in seven cities around the country strike for $15 an hour and the right to unionize.
Building on the momentum of an initial strike last November in New York City, organizers say dozens of restaurants in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Detroit and Flint, Mich., will be affected by waves of worker walkouts over the course of the week.
“These workers need a raise and they need representation in the workplace,” said Martin Rafanan, community director for STL735. The acronym stands for “St. Louis Can’t Survive on $7.35,” referring to Missouri’s minimum wage. Rafanan said the group, which plans to strike today and tomorrow, hopes to build on a May strike when about 100 workers walked off the job.
At a McDonald's across the street from Yankee Stadium, several dozen people chanted, "We can't survive on $7.25."
Monday Jul 29, 2013 1:55 pm
Fast Food Strikes Catch Fire
Early this morning, fast food workers in New York, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. launched strikes demanding both a wage increase to $15 an hour—from a median of $8.94—and the right to form unions without employer interference.
Later this week, workers in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and Flint, Mich., will also go out on strike, expanding the reach of the movement of fast food workers (and, in Chicago, retail workers) that started with protests in New York and Chicago last year and grew into a series of one-day strikes throughout 2013. In Flint and Kansas City, strikes are taking place for the first time; in other cities, strikes will expand to target new franchises.
The fast food strikes are part of a broader movement by low-wage workers for higher pay and union representation that has caught fire over the past year.
Targets include a range of employers, including Wal-Mart, federal subcontractors, warehouses, retail stores and car washes. Workers have typically formed loose local organizing committees that, with financial and logistical support from unions and community groups are growing into national networks, most prominently OUR Walmart.