Fast-Food Rallies Attract Union and Political Support

From Los Angeles to New York, multiple rallies and a one-day strike by fast food workers nationwide on Nov. 10 sent hundreds of thousands of restaurant and non-restaurant workers into the streets in 270 cities and attracted political and union support and attention.

 

The rallies and protests, organized nationally by union-backed Fight for 15 and in D.C. by Good Jobs Nation were the latest move in their drive for $15 hourly wages and the right to unionize without employer harassment, intimidation, law-breaking and interference.

 

This time, the fast food workers added another message: We vote, and we’ll remember next November who was for raising low-wage workers’ pay and who was against it.

 

Studies calculate that at least 64 million U.S. workers — fast food workers, retail workers, Wal-Mart workers, port truck drivers, adjunct professors, part-time UPS drivers, and more — earn $15 hourly or less. All those workers were part of the Nov. 10 protests.

 

Two big protests were in Milwaukee, site of that evening’s GOP presidential debate, and Brooklyn, where 1,000 people were in a pre-dawn march on a low-paying McDonald’s.

 

“Fifteen is great, but you need a union as well to push the issues,” Jamal Tabar, a worker at the McDonald’s at 56th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, told The Gothamist. “A union would help protect us — scheduling, hours, stuff like that,” the father of two said.

 

Part-time UPS drivers, who are paid $11 hourly, jalso oined the Brooklyn march. One called the job, with no benefits, a form of slavery.

The Fightfor15 movement drew other political support: Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minn., spoke to the crowd in Minneapolis, the Berkeley, Calif., City Council voted to raise the citywide minimum wage — for all workers, not just in fast food — to $15, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., said all state workers would make at least $15 hourly by the end of 2018.

 

Union leaders also hailed the marchers and some joined them.

 

“I think that these workers have shown in the past two years that they are a potent political force. They have been changing the debate,” Service Employees President Mary Kay Henry told The Huffington Post.  Her union financially and logistically aids the Fight for 15.

 

“From the parents of our students to the Education Support Professionals (ESPs) who often earn poverty wages in our schools, a living wage is essential for delivering the opportunities our students deserve,” added National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia.

Source: PAI