Fast Food Workers to Strike Thursday as Fight for $15 and Union Rights Intensifies

For Immediate Release

Fast Food Workers to Strike Thursday as Fight for $15 and Union Rights Intensifies

McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s workers among those to walk off their jobs as movement continues to grow; home care workers join as movement spreads to new industry

“All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity. There is no denying a simple truth. America deserves a raise. Give America a raise. …You know what, if I were looking for a job that lets me build some security for my family, I’d join a union. If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union. …I’d want a union looking out for me.” -- President Obama, Sept 1, 2014, Milwaukee, WI

Coming off a convention at which they vowed to do “whatever it takes” to win $15 and the right to form a union, fast-food workers in more than 150 cities will walk off their jobs Thursday as their movement intensifies and continues to spread.

A day after President Obama praised their campaign, workers from Oakland, Calif. to Opelika, Ala., said they will strike at the country’s major fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC.  Workers in Little Rock, Ark. Minneapolis, Minn; and Rochester, NY are among those who will walk off their jobs for the first time.

Fast-food workers from four continents are expected to travel to the U.S. to support strikers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Raleigh. 

Given recent events in Ferguson, MO and the desire for a sense of peace and normalcy in the community, fast-food workers decided not to hold a Thursday strike action in the St. Louis area, but to take their fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union on the road. St. Louis fast-food workers will travel to join their fellow fast-food workers on the strike lines in New York City, Memphis, Nashville and Little Rock.

Inspired by the actions of fast-food workers, home care workers have decided to join the nationwide movement for higher pay and better rights on the job. In several cities, both nonunion and union home care workers will join striking fast-food workers, as the Fight for $15 spreads to a new, fast-growing service industry.

WHO: Workers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, Domino’s and other fast-food restaurants; Home Care Workers; Community Supporters; Clergy; Elected officials

WHAT: Fast-Food Worker Strike

WHEN &WHERE: For information on times and locations for strike lines in a particular city, please contact Laura or Alex.

Thursday’s strike comes a little more than a month after the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel determined that, despite McDonald’s repeated claims, the company is a joint employer that exerts substantial power over its employees’ working conditions. For nearly two years, McDonald’s and other fast-food workers have been joining together and going on strike, calling for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. But time and time again, the company and other industry players have tried to sidestep workers’ calls, inventing a make-believe world in which responsibility for wages and working conditions falls squarely on the shoulders of franchisees.

A campaign that started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast-food workers walking off their jobs demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, has since spread to more than 150 cities in every region of the country, including the South. The growing fight for $15 has been credited with elevating the debate around inequality in the U.S. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said that it has “entirely changed the politics of the country.” Since the campaign launched, nearly 7 million low-wage workers have seen their wages rise. What seemed like a far-fetched goal--$15 an hour—is now a reality in Seattle, where Bloomberg News said the city adopted “the rallying cry of fast-food workers.”

As it spreads, the movement is challenging fast-food companies’ outdated notion that their workers are teenagers looking for pocket change. Today’s workers are mothers and fathers struggling to raise children on wages that are too low. And they’re showing the industry that if it doesn’t raise pay, it will continue to be at the center of the national debate on what’s wrong with our economy. 

Follow all of the action on strike day at www.strikefastfood.org and #StrikeFastFood.

When a couple hundred of us fast food workers went on strike in New York right after Thanksgiving in 2012, we never knew we’d spark an international movement – changing the debate around income inequality, and growing our strikes and rallies to more than 150 cities and 33 countries on 6 continents. There’s still a long way to go before we get our demand here in the US – $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation – and it’s going to be a hard fight, but we know we can do it. We don’t have any other choice.

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