Similar demonstrations aimed at raising fast-food workers’ wages took place earlier in the year in Chicago and New York
A series of industrial protests hitting America’s gigantic fast food industry has spread to cities in the Midwest as workers from several national chain restaurants have gone out on strike for better pay.
On Friday in Detroit organisers were expecting at least 400 workers from at least 60 stores to come out and protest. Organisers said early actions had already seen restaurants, including several McDonald’s branches, a Long John Silver’s and a Popeye’s, forced to close by the attention of strikers.
The action comes a day after two days of similar protest in St Louis, Missouri, which saw 100 workers walk off their jobs at chains like Wendy’s, Domino’s and Jimmy John’s. It also follows similar actions in Chicago and New York earlier this year in what labour experts call the largest such disputes to ever hit the industry.
The demonstrations are aimed at highlighting a demand for a $15-an-hour wage and the right to form a union without fear of employer intimidation.
Kenta Jackson, a 21-year-old shift manager at Church’s Chicken in St Louis, said she had been moved to join the protest due to the difficulties of making ends meet on her wage of $8.50 an hour. “I work 40 hours a week and still cannot get by. If I have three different bills I have got to make a decision which of them I can pay,” she told The Guardian.
The fast food strikes are the latest in a series of disputes which have struck some of the lowest paid sectors of the American economy. Last year retail giant Walmart was hit by a series of walkouts by some of its workers, who were also demanding higher pay. The firm’s supply chain, which often uses third-party warehouses, was also hit by industrial disputes.
Labour groups in the US have increasingly adopted the cause of workers as statistics show that the tepid US economic recovery has been fuelled by an increase in low-wage work. A survey by the National Employment Law Project last year revealed that though lower wage jobs had made up 21% of job losses in the Great Recession, they had also made up 58% of the jobs created by the recovery.
In the St Louis area, local organisers estimate that some 36,000 workers toil in the fast food industry at wage levels which often still see them get government assistance to get by. “Increasingly, fast food jobs are the only options for St Louisans, but these workers can’t even afford to pay for rent, food and carfare. If the workers earned more, fast food workers would spend that money at local businesses here in St Louis and help lift our economy,” said the Rev Martin Rafanan, a local director of the campaign.
[Fast food worker at New York City wage protest via Flickr user peoplesworld]
Donald Trump is no longer president: Robert Reich
You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J. Trump is no longer president of the United States.
By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.
He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV, and tweeting.
How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground?
He has incited more police violence. Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s.
Trump-loving Minneapolis police union boss calls the cops on a reporter for knocking on his door
Lt. Bob Kroll, the Trump-loving president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, called the police this week on a Washington Post reporter for the purported offense of knocking on the door of his house.
In an effort to get Kroll to respond to the charges that were filed this week against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's death, the Post sent one of its reporter to Krolls house after multiple other requests for comment went unanswered.
"A Washington Post reporter who knocked on Kroll’s door was soon pulled over by a police officer who said that Kroll had reported suspicious activity on his front porch and that 'he doesn’t want any press,'" the paper reports.
‘I know a dying administration when I see one’: British journalist says brutal crackdown will seal Trump’s doom
British journalist Ed Luce called out Senate Republicans for covering a dying Trump administration that's threatening U.S. democracy as it gasps for survival.
The Financial Times' chief U.S. commentator told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that President Donald Trump is trying to crack down on dissent and rally his hardcore base as the coronavirus and now nationwide protests against police brutality threaten his re-election chances.
"There are other Republican senators who are keeping silent because they know that what Trump is doing, what Trump is suggesting, is wrong," Luce said. they're scared of a backlash if they speak out."