Describing McDonald's as "the Donald Trump of corporations," workers and leaders in the Trump resistance movement are joining forces for a massive protest against the fast food giant this week.
"Like Trump, McDonald's faces widespread charges of stealing from workers' paychecks, sexually harassing women, ripping off taxpayers, and firing people for speaking out," groups said in a press statement. Over two days of action, the statement said, "workers and leaders from across the progressive movement will stress that resistance to Trump's agenda must include resistance to companies like McDonald's."
The demonstration, billed by Fight for $15 as "the biggest protest ever" to hit the burger franchise, kicks off Tuesday with a march from Chicago's Trump Tower to the city's flagship Rock N Roll McDonald's. Organized by the minimum wage campaign in conjunction with major anti-Trump groups like the Women's March, MoveOn.org, Movement for Black Lives, Our Revolution, Indivisible Chicago, Cosecha, and the Sierra Club, the March on McDonald's reflects that out-of-control corporate power, as facilitated by the Trump administration, is "not only [a] worker's issue, but...an immigrant, racial, women, LGBTQ, and environmental issue."
As Carmen Perez, a co-chair of the Women's March put it: "Labor rights are women's rights. The link between the gender justice and labor justice movements is strong—but often unacknowledged. Women's March is proud to join Fight for $15 and others to rise up against unfair labor practices, economic exploitation, and workplace sexual harassment."
"These fights are our fights," she said, "and the only way we win is together."
"We cannot allow corporations like McDonald's to continue violating basic workers' rights to boost profits," added Larry Cohen, board chair of Our Revolution. "Women and men who work 40 hours a week continue to face poverty. McDonald's continues to stand on the wrong side of worker's rights by opposing minimum wage increases, paid sick leave, and fair scheduling. We're marching to tell McDonald's and other multinational corporations: this greed must end."
The following day, Wednesday, will see another protest, this one outside the McDonald's annual shareholders meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois—with solidarity actions at franchises around the country.
Better corporate practices, workers and activists will tell McDonald's executives, isn't just good for people, it's good for business.
"Paying $15 an hour and supporting its workers' right to a union is not only a moral obligation for McDonald's, it’s good economics," said Patriotic Millionaires' chair Morris Pearl, former managing director of BlackRock, Inc. Patriotic Millionaires is also supporting Tuesday's march.
"In an economy that is 70 percent driven by consumer demand, putting more money into people's pockets means putting more money into the economy," Pearl said. "The less people have to worry about basics like food and housing, the faster every additional dollar they have returns to the economy. McDonald's should get behind the Fight for $15 for the good of their workers, the company itself, and the economy as a whole."
Pearl further outlined his argument in an open letter (pdf) to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook last week. "McDonald's can't thrive over the long term if its workers are scraping by and routinely mistreated," he wrote. "The business model McDonald's pioneered in the 1950s is now falling flat with 21st century consumers."
"Americans believe workers should be paid fairly and treated decently," Pearl concluded. "If McDonald's wants to win back its customers, the company needs to prove it respects America's workers. Paying $15 an hour and respecting their right to a union is the place to start."
Check back at Common Dreams and follow #Fightfor15 on Twitter for more as the week goes on.