Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fast food workers across the planet strike today

There is a workers' uprising after all, two weeks after May Day.

From New York City to Nigeria and New Zealand, fast food workers will strike and protest on Thursday to demand higher pay and better working conditions — in a global day of action with unprecedented reach for the industry.

Workers and labor organizers across the globe have united in a campaign that aims to advance workers’ specific demands in each country, while also showing solidarity with the US-based push for a $15 hourly wage and workers’ right to unionize without fearing retaliation.


Rallies and sit-ins will take place in 33 countries and 150 cities — a list that is growing by the day, organizers said. The action is reaching countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, some for the first time, in addition to Europe and the Americas. In some locations, strikes and rallies in solidarity with US workers will continue on Friday.

In the US, thousands of workers are expected to strike in St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City among others — where they will demand the right to organize and a doubling of their wages from the current $7.25, the federal minimum wage.

If I were advising any Democratic politicians who had a goal of expanding the electorate six months from now, I would say: "Get out to the streets in front of a Papa John's or a Mickey D's today".

The global day of protest comes on the same day McDonald’s employees in California, Michigan, and New York filed class-action lawsuits against the hamburger chain – which serves an estimated 68 million customers daily in 119 countries - alleging the company is making employees work off the clock, refusing to pay overtime and even charging employees to have their uniforms cleaned.

“We’ve uncovered several unlawful schemes, but they all share a common purpose – to drive labor costs down by stealing wages from McDonald’s workers,” Michael Rubin of Altshuler Berzon LLP, the lawyer who filed the California suits, said in a media statement announcing the suits. “These McDonald’s workers have courageously stepped forward to shine a light on these illegal practices, and already we’ve begun to hear from several co-workers with similar wage theft claims.”

Refusing to pay in full the already poverty-level wages of their workers.  Counseling them to apply for public assistance (a cue taken from Walmart).  Record profits, lowest wages in the nation, and the broadest gap between what their employees and their top management earn.

Yeah, I'm not lovin' it.  That's a supersized order of revolution.  Make mine a combo, with some economic and social justice, please.

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