For Immediate Release
In Nationwide Protests, Workers Declare McDonald’s Move to End Lobbying Against Minimum Wage Isn’t Enough
Cooks, Cashiers Call Fast-Food Giant’s Announcement ‘A Day Late, $15 and a Union Short’
WASHINGTON - Waving signs reading “McDonald’s: A Day Late, $15 and a Union Short,” McDonald’s workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union protested during the lunchtime rush in 10 cities from coast to coast Wednesday, sending a strong message to the company that its decision last week to stop lobbying against minimum wage increases isn’t enough.
From Tampa to Los Angeles, cooks and cashiers rallied outside McDonald’s stores, declaring they would keep fighting until the company meets their demands for $15/hour and union rights. They also called on McDonald’s to use its power and influence to support minimum wage increases, not to just stop lobbying against them.
“McDonald’s decision doesn’t change my life one bit. What would change my life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers is what we’ve been asking for since Day 1: $15/hour and union rights,” said Bleu Rainer, a Tampa McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “We’re going to keep up our fight until we win.”
Cooks and cashiers protested Wednesday in Los Angeles, Calif.; Flint, Mich.; St. Louis, Mo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Durham, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Milwaukee, Wisc.
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By speaking out for $15/hour and union rights workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union have pushed six states and Washington, D.C. to pass $15/hour minimum wages. Major companies including Costco, Target, Disney and Amazon have also made the move to $15/hour. And more than 200 U.S. Representatives have signed on in support of a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.
“McDonald’s decision was a direct response to the thousands and thousands of us who’ve taken to the streets, gone on strike and even gotten arrested in our fight for $15 and union rights,” said Tyree Johnson, a Chicago McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “And as $15/hour is increasingly seen as the minimum workers everywhere need to get by, McDonald’s clearly saw that using its power and money to block minimum wage increases was out of step with the direction of the country.”
Since the beginning of the movement in 2012, 24 million workers have won raises, totaling $70 billion. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers are now covered by a $15/hour law or a path to it.
The protests came a day after McDonald’s workers in Durham, N.C. went on strike, calling on the company to address sexual harassment faced by employees in its stores.
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Fast food workers are coming together all over the country to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. We work for corporations that are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation.