Fast food workers in over 50 cities across the nation are striking on Thursday in what organizers are touting as the largest ever strike to hit the industry.
The workers are demanding $15 an hour and the right to unionize, continuing the calls and momentum of a series of strikes that first started in November of 2012.
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but, as the Economic Policy Institute has pointed out, “if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity growth [since 1968], it would now be $18.67 per hour.”
In addition to fast food workers, workers at major retail chains including Macy’s, Sears, Victoria’s Secret and Walgreens are expected to take part in the strike as well.
“When I saw the strikes on TV earlier this summer in New York and Chicago, I said to my co-workers, ‘We need to bring this to Durham,’” Willieta Dukes, a 39-year-old Burger King worker in North Carolina, said in a statement. “And now we’ve brought the fight for $15 and a union not just to Durham, but to every corner of the country. The more of us who join together, the more powerful we are.”
Dukes, who makes $7.85 an hour, decided to go on strike for the first time in her life because she can’t afford not to. She writes in an op-ed:
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Striking McDonald’s worker Nick Williams, whose take-home pay is less than $800 a month, was outraged when he found out McDonald’s made $5.5 billion in profits last year, telling Business Insider, “I felt completely betrayed because billions of dollars are extra and the people who work at McDonald’s aren’t making enough to live.”
Highlighting the inequality further, Catherine Ruetschlin and Amy Traub of the public policy organization Demos write on Thursday:
Dearius Merritt, a striking Church’s Chicken assistant manager in Memphis, Tenn., also sees this as a growing movement with implications for years to come.
“It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than the workers that are standing up. It’s not just going to help my generation, it’s going to help the next generation that’s going to come, and the generation after that,” said Merritt.
Twitters users have been showing actions from cities across the country and offering support for the call for a living wage:
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Tweets about “#Fightfor15 OR #829strike OR #LowPayIsNotOK OR #Strikefor15 lang:en”
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