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Demonstrators holding posters march during a protest to demand higher wages for fast-food workers in Tokyo's Shibuya shopping and amusement district May 15, 2014. The march was held as part of an international protest by fast-food workers who planned to go on strikes in 150 cities across the United States and demonstrations in 33 other countries on Thursday to demand higher pay and better working conditions.   REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3P8AL
Fast food protesters in Japan

Fast food workers around the world are striking and rallying with supporters in a global expansion of the waves of one-day strikes held throughout the United States over the past year and a half. The strikers are claiming credit for temporarily closing several fast food restaurants or forcing managers to take over operations.

Steven Greenhouse reports, of the expansion to other countries:

“It’s a global economy, so they’re saying, ‘Why not go overseas to make it into a global fight?’ ” said Lowell Turner, a professor of international labor relations at Cornell University. “They’re trying to create a global protest movement.”

The movement’s organizers say there will be protests in 30 cities in Japan, 20 in Britain, five in Brazil and three in India. The effort’s strategists point to some fast-growing overseas markets as vulnerable targets for corporations like McDonald’s that have begun relying more heavily on foreign revenue now that domestic fast food sales have languished.

In the U.S., workers emphasize not just the low wages they are paid even after years of experience, but questions of justice:
Jamie Branch, a McDonald’s employee in Rockford, Illinois, said she’s going on strike to demand the company better value her and her coworkers. “The reason I’m going on strike is because I feel like they are underpaying their workers,” she said, “because we do matter.” She trains coworkers at the chain and knows how much is expected of them. “We do the work of two to three people in any given day,” she said. Yet the workers struggle to get by. “That corporation is making billions of dollars in the same hour they’re paying me eight measly dollars,” she said. “It’s time for me to start getting acknowledged and treated as if I matter.”
Though the strikes are spreading, the odds are still not in the workers' favor. They're up against huge, profitable companies that have built a business model around low-wage labor, and have lobbyists and lawyers to protect that model. But nothing will change without organizing, and worker activism does have to be credited for some of the momentum behind increasing the minimum wage, as we've seen recently in several states and in Seattle, where it's headed to the $15 an hour the fast food workers have been calling for in their strikes.

Go below the fold for some tweets from fast food actions around the world.

Police tried to stop the #FastFoodGlobal protests in Mumbai by pulling their permit. Didn't work. http://t.co/...
@LowPayIsNotOK
 
"About 20 of us didn't show up for the morning shift at Rock N Roll @McDonalds", their most profitable store! - Inés
@fightfor15
 
In front if Rock & Roll @McDonalds with @actionnowchi in the house! #fightfor15 http://t.co/...
@fightfor15
 
Pakistani workers in action! Global #solidarity #FastFoodGlobal http://t.co/...
@IUFglobal
 
Security Workers from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol support Fast Food Workers worldwide today. #FastFoodGlobal #fnv http://t.co/...
@mariannejekkers
 

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu May 15, 2014 at 08:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH, Retail and Workplace Pragmatists - Members and Editors, Protest Music, and Daily Kos.

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