Want some fries with that burger and shake? You might not be able to get any of that next week if you live in Detroit, New York, Chicago, St. Louis or the three other cities where fast-food workers will be striking.
On Monday, workers from major chains including KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s in seven cities will be staging a strike in a protest for better wages. The workers are hoping the protests -- which will occur in Detroit, New York, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Flint, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo. -- will prompt employers of popular fast-food chains to raise pay to a "living wage" of $15 an hour.
KMBZ in Kansas City reported that the protests, part of an ongoing movement dubbed "Fast Food Forward," will begin on Monday and are expected to continue through Thursday. The protesters in the seven cities are calling for the hourly-rate hike as well as the right to form a union without retaliation and an end to unfair labor practices.
The New York Daily News reported that strikes in Brooklyn will begin as early as Friday, involving workers from Papa John’s and Domino’s as well as other chains. The action will mark the third such strike in a year, following similar protests in April (in Detroit, New York, Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis) and last November.
According to the Washington Post, the strikes in these seven cities extend beyond the fast food business, with employees at other low-wage stores including Dollar Tree, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret slated to join the protests.
The protesters have been backed by support from communities as well as labor groups such as the Service Employees International Union. "SEIU members, like all service-sector workers, are worse off when large fast-food and retail companies are able to hold down wages and push down benefit standards for working people," SEIU president Mary Kay Henry told the Washington Post.
In April, 400 fast food workers in New York City from 70 chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Domino’s, rallied for an increase in pay and the right to unionize without losing their jobs, NYDN reported. Similarly, a few hundred workers protested the same month in Detroit, calling for a $15-an-hour living wage.
The movement to increase pay comes as low-wage jobs, which are considered positions that pay from $7 to $13 an hour, are growing in the postrecession job recovery. The National Employment Law Project reported last summer that mid-wage jobs, or those that pay $14 to $21 per hour, dropped 60% during the recession. However, low-wage jobs increased by 58% last summer during the job-growth recovery to combat the losses in middle-income jobs.