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Demonstrators are pictured in front of Domino's Pizza during a strike aimed at the fast-food industry and the minimum wage in Seattle, Washington August 29, 2013. Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thur
Fast food strikes hit New York City first, in late 2012. Then they spread to cities across the United States. On May 15, they're going global:
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 workers are organizing for $15 an hour pay, better treatment, and the right to join a union. In addition to poverty wages, they face widespread wage theft and few opportunities to be promoted to jobs that might pay a living wage.

Restaurant industry flacks continue to dismiss the strikes as meaningless, yet the industry is clearly paying attention. While more fast food workers aren't striking than are, the number in the streets is growing—and the strikes have been a historic first from the beginning. For all its poo-pooing, the fast food industry has never faced anything like this, and the workers have had some successes, including 220 food-service workers at two Smithsonian museums getting a union and some significant wage theft settlements. Since fast food workers started organizing and hitting the streets, Washington, DC, and Seattle have also begun the process of raising their minimum wages to $11.50 and $15, respectively, significantly higher rates that don't happen without a movement behind them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed May 07, 2014 at 07:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Looking forward to the day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, karmsy

    I can once again eat at McDonald's with a cautious eye on my waistline rather than my immortal soul.

  •  If fast food restaurants are going to be (4+ / 0-)

    this era's factories, protest away.

    "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    by blueoregon on Wed May 07, 2014 at 08:20:05 AM PDT

    •  May your words turn out to be prophetic. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoregon

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Wed May 07, 2014 at 05:07:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

      ...20% of the jobs are trivially replaced by self service (and, in the process, higher levels of service). Another 10% or so can be replaced by tech that exists but just wasn't worth deploying before. The next 20% or 30% will take three or four years to replace.

      Remember, customers of fast food outlets almost never go there to "relate" to the person who takes their order, expects to be asked about their kids, or expect to be asked about "how is mom's cancer treatment doing?".

      Having said that, I haven't crossed the threshold of a fast food joint (okay, I lie, I tried Five Guys six months ago and decided they, too, were crap) in more than five years just because I don't need that crap.

      It completely perplexes me why people want to share personal experiences with whoever the boss hired for the summer (and probably stole wages from) at the local mom-and-pop. Surely people have social networks that they select according to their interests rather than desperately hoping that the checker or the server at their local establishment "care" about them (hint, they really DON'T -- anymore than that sweet person following the script at Visa cares if "Did we take care of all your issues today").

  •  This is a very good thing. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, thomask, karmsy

    Hard-working people should not be living in poverty.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Wed May 07, 2014 at 08:24:17 AM PDT

  •  Please join a Fight for $15 action near you! n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Words In Action, karmsy

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Wed May 07, 2014 at 08:28:47 AM PDT

  •  For the labor movement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melpomene1, Ekdog

    . . . it is important to think globally. That's why it is been so uplifting to follow this movement. Let's face it: in the U.S., unionization is an extremely uphill climb, with the law heavily stacked in favor of the company over the workers. Attempts at organizing are almost always met with contempt, intimidation & often outright repression. Media coverage, when it occurs at all, is skeptical or downright hostile. We are fast approaching the situation as it existed during the 1800s, when the power of employer over employee was basically absolute.

    American workers need the help of unions & their supporters everywhere in the world, as much as people in other countries may need us. Fast-food workers need the support of established unions. No more contempt for people who may seem lower on the socioeconomic ladder; no more divide & conquer. People of good will must use their power as consumers to pressure these companies into giving their workers a fair deal. We must all offer our support, speak out, boycott if necessary, & never fail to honor workers' picket lines.

    For starters, we should all commit to avoiding any of the picketed fast-food chains on the 15th of May.

    •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

      While it is not as applicable to the fast food industry as is it in manufacturing, part of the reason multinational corporations are able to pay slave wages in the U.S. is because of working conditions in other countries.

      •  The reason fast-food employers can pay slave wages (0+ / 0-)

        . . . is because the law allows them to, & because workers in the U.S. (& unskilled workers in particular) have little bargaining power. In terms of wages, working conditions, safety standards & environmental protection, globalization has indeed turned out to be the "race to the bottom" that most of us on the left feared it would be. But, it is precisely because these service jobs can't really be outsourced to developing countries that makes them especially suitable for labor-organizing. Also, organizing in this industry is especially important because it employs so many people (however marginally).

  •  This is long overdue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    showthetaxreturn, melpomene1

    The US certainly isn't suffering from an overabundance of strikes. See here:

    Source: http://www.bls.gov/...

    Full-size: http://i.imgur.com/...

    Until the 1970s, real wages in the US kept pace with rising productivity. After the '70s, wages flattened, even while productivity (and profits!) continued to rise. I'm not going to suggest that correlation implies causation, but I do find it interesting that strikes have flattened during the same period. The reverse should be true! During the "Golden Age of Capitalism" of the 1950s, strikes were an order of magnitude higher than they are today. Again, I don't wish to imply a connection, but it's interesting!

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a TV commercial is worth ten books.

    by DigitalBluster on Wed May 07, 2014 at 01:19:54 PM PDT

  •  How I love me a dose of uppity pee-on! nt (0+ / 0-)

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed May 07, 2014 at 05:09:41 PM PDT

  •  Tipped! (0+ / 0-)

    $15 everywhere I say.

    Detroit would be a great place for a $15 minimum wage.

    San Francisco, L.A., or Portland up next maybe?

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Wed May 07, 2014 at 06:26:17 PM PDT

    •  inflation adjusted (3+ / 0-)

      Or at least $11 inflation adjusted. One problem with the current minimum wage is there is a fight every few years to keep workers from falling back into poverty.  If the congress, or the military, get change in total compensation, that change has to be 100% reflected in the minimum wage.

      I would also like to see some tax benefits for regional increases over the minimum wage.  I mean $11 or especially $15 a hour would be great in Mississippi, but in Oregon the minimum wage should be more life $15-20 a hour.

      Interesting story on another way to run a chain restaurant.  Owner is evidently a murderer, but the compensation package is awesome.

    •  Expect a ton of pushback... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, ozsea1

      ...from the restaurants in Portland - the Seattle pushback, as shown in The Stranger, was one "little deli" that was a front for the restaurant industry.

      You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

      by varro on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:32:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have a candidate for city council here in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, historys mysteries

      Portland who wants a $15 minimum wage--you can tell he has traction because the incumbent suddenly became interested in a minimum wage hike.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:36:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would be awesome to see this become the (3+ / 0-)

    end of the fast food chain and the renaissance of the locally owned restaurant.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:11:05 PM PDT

  •  wages (4+ / 0-)

    Yes,  spend your money locally!

    A minimum wage of $15 will improve the wages of all working people.  If you are pushing a broom in a non-union shop in Toledo, your lot will improve, too.

    When wages improve, all boats rise.

  •  Damn! And I just bought a KFC franchise! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, Pale Jenova

    In Seattle!

    Just kidding,  but everybody knows that this is what the industry is most worried about.  

    "Soylent Green is people too, my friend!" Guess Who

    by oldmaestro on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:33:01 PM PDT

  •  Why are they protesting globally? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    If the minimum wage is adequate, as I'm guessing it is in London or Geneva, there's no problem with McDonald's paying the minimum wage; and I assume wage theft isn't a problem in other developed countries, just ours.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:35:56 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad they are getting more active. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, Pale Jenova

    A lot of people are forced to work in these places, and the myth that they are all kids with no family to support is just that.

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

    by martianexpatriate on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:37:26 PM PDT

  •  Look quick! Labor organizing! At a low paying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, ozsea1

    vastly profitable New Industry near you!

    Interesting that the last time workers organized effectively to get a living wage and tolerable job conditions and stuff like pensions (medical care was a different animal in the early 20th century), the oligarchy "owned" steel and auto and other manufacturing plants. Now it's junk food and coffee chains and Big Boxes full of crap made in Malaysia and China and nice casual clothing made in effing VIETNAM by what, Communists? So Industry now in the waning Empire is "you want to super size that?" and "Welcome to Wallymart" or Big Lots. But the beat is the same: ordinary people have the RIGHT to be paid a living wage, a share of the wealth they create every day that is much,  much larger than the ever-shrinking pittances, smaller and smaller fractions of all that productivity-produced profit that the Head Honchos and the Investor/Rentier drones are Hovering up so assiduously.

    Sad, isn't it, that it takes desperation of people who have to depend on food stamps to just survive day to day, some living in their cars, to demand that the effing Overlords up there in Elysium give the ordinary people just a little more than barely enough for a shitty place to live, in ever shittier school districts, with ever more oppressive policing, and junk food to eat, and with luck, enough left to buy an Obamacare Bronze or Lead "medical UNsurance policy." Since the current pay ain't enough for even that, especially when it's "paid" in the form of a fee- laden debit card...

    Aaahh, the dignity of working, hard, long, and fruitlessly, for a burned out piece of the American Dream...

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:36:05 PM PDT

  •  WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!! (0+ / 0-)

    ONE BIG UNION!!!

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:09:13 PM PDT

  •  International Corporations, International Unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeninSC

    When corporations are international, unions should also be international.

  •  Rather fascinating... (0+ / 0-)

    ...do workers in Karachi really expect to be paid $15USD an hour? Seriously?

    Most of them have NO idea what $1USD is worth or would know if the thing the boss just gave them was a real $15 US Bill (oops) or some worthless scrap of paper printed on a laser printer.

    Folks, you DO know that the majority of the people in the world don't have a clue (or, rightfully, care) what a $USD is? This diary is so parochial it's embarrassing.

    Oh, no, what really happened is that this front pager again ignored facts, reality and all those things DK is supposed to represent and juxtaposed out of context factoids to make an argument. Yep. And, again, I'm not surprised in this case.

    There are so many responsible front pagers here, whom I don't always agree with, that don't stoop to the levels of deception that this one does. Why is this front pager still on staff? I used to browse Free Republic (never posted there though) just to see what the nuts were thinking but gave that up maybe ten years ago because they were just too nuts.

    I wish there as an "?exclude=ZZZ,YYY,XXX" option on DK so I could view just meaningful dialog :(

  •  Fast food (0+ / 0-)

    It is about time!!

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