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.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.
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.
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.