Fast food workers at more than 60 restaurants in Detroit walked off the job Friday. This may be the largest fast food strike in American history, involving more than 400 workers from McDonald’s, Long John Silver’s, Burger King, Popeyes and KFC. Some locations were forced to shut down. At issue is workers’ right to form a union and an increase in base pay to a minimum of $15 per hour.
Pastor W.J. Rideout III, a leader in Detroit’s Good Jobs Now coalition, said the organic action was a result of a long history of mistreatment of fast food workers:
“They’ve been wronged in so many ways, it really doesn’t take much coaching to say, hey, we’re going to organize together, we’re going to stand up together,” he said.
“There are 50,000-plus fast food employees in the Detroit metro area…and they’re not even giving them the proper amount of hours,” Rideout said. “At 40 hours a week, they’re making about $15,000 a year, and they’re not even getting 40 hours a week.” Instead, managers hire many employees on an exclusively part-time basis. “Some of them are getting between 15 and 20 hours a week, and that’s barely enough to pay a cellphone bill.”
Reports are coming in that one McDonald’s called in replacement workers, some of whom then joined the strike.
This article was originally posted on the AFL-CIO on May 10, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist whose writings have appeared on AFL-CIO, Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America’s Future and elsewhere.