[Rushtalk] Farm workers strike over H-2A, pay
notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
Thu Aug 29 13:32:57 MDT 2013
Fast-food workers strike nationwide in protest against wages
Hundreds of protesters across the US marched Thursday to demand
higher wages for fast-food workers, forcing the closure of one
McDonald's in Detroit after its employees walked out.
The protests are underway in cities including New York, Boston and
Chicago, and organizers are expecting the biggest national walkouts yet.
A McDonald's restaurant in Detroit closed Thursday morning as workers
and protesters chanted "hey hey, ho ho, $7.40's got to go," outside,
In New York, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined about 300 to
400 protesters in a march before flooding inside a McDonald's near
the Empire State Building on Thursday morning. Shortly after the
demonstration, however, the restaurant seemed to be operating
normally and a few customers said they hadn't heard of the movement.
The same was true at a McDonald's a few blocks away.
The lack of awareness among some illustrates the challenge workers
face. Participating workers, who are asking for $15 an hour, still
represent a tiny fraction of the industry. The federal minimum wage
is $7.25 an hour, which works out to about $15,000 a year for
The movement comes amid calls from the White House, some members of
Congress and economists to hike the federal minimum wage. But most
proposals seek a far more modest increase than the one workers are
asking for, with President Barack Obama wanting to boost it to $9 an hour.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Associate Press, Labor Secretary
Thomas Perez said the strikes are another sign of the need to raise
the minimum wage for all workers. He compared the protests to the
demands of demonstrators in the 1963 March on Washington, who sought
a national minimum wage to give workers better living standards.
"For all too many people working minimum wage jobs, the rungs on the
ladder of opportunity are feeling further and further apart," said
Perez, who's taking a lead role in Obama's push to boost the minimum wage.
The Service Employees International Union, which represents more than
2 million works in health care, janitorial and other industries, has
been providing financial support and training for local organizers
around the country.
Organizers say the strikes will hit more than 50 cities on Thursday,
following a series of strikes that began last November in New York
City. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200
of the country's millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day
strike in seven cities.
Ryan Carter, a 29-year-old who was walking out of the McDonald's
where workers demonstrated on Thursday, said he "absolutely"
supported workers demand for higher wages.
"They work harder than the billionaires in this city," he said. But
Carter, who was holding a cup of the chain's coffee he bought for $1,
said he didn't plan to stop his regular trips to McDonald's.
McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. say they don't make
decisions about pay for the independent franchisees that operate the
majority of their U.S. restaurants. Wendy's and Yum Brands Inc.,
which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, did not respond to requests
Workers were also expected to walk off their jobs in cities including
Atlanta, Boston, Hartford, Conn., Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Many
targeted restaurants will likely be able to stay open, however. The
strikes were announced earlier, giving managers time to adjust staffing levels.
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