Fast food workers are continuing their fight for a living wage through a new round of protests scheduled for this Thursday. According to the New York Times, employees of several chains will strike at restaurants in over 100 cities nationwide. A Burger King employee told the Times that they are "prepared to take arrests" in order to show their "commitment to the growing fight" for a $15 per hour minimum wage. Even President Obama, who has long pushed to raise the national minimum wage, mentioned the protests in a speech on Labor Day in Milwaukee: "All across the country right now there's a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity." A study recently revealed that 40 percent of restaurant workers live in poverty. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
While fast food workers have protested before, this strike will also include elements of "civil disobedience." A convention of fast food workers held near Chicago in July "unanimously approved a resolution calling for civil disobedience as a way to step up pressure on the fast-food chains." Now, Thursday's protests will also include sit-ins in around 12 cities. USA Today writes that participants in the "Fight for $15" campaign are also pushing for their right to unionize. On the other hand, The National Restaurant Association, a lobby group, believes that that protests are not actually organized by workers who are demanding higher pay but by unions in an attempt "to boost their dwindling membership."
Fast food workers have been pushing for a $15 minimum wage for quite some time: In May, fast food employees across 150 cities walked off the job to protest their low wages. Shortly after, thousands of McDonald's employees staged a protest near the burger chain's corporate headquarters, and 100 demonstrators were arrested. A higher minimum wage has been implemented in a handful of places across the country such as Seattle and Minnesota, but restaurateurs and chefs have not shown the moves much support. Some restaurateurs in Minnesota have even taken to charging customers a "minimum wage fee" to help it cover their employees' pay increase.
· Workers Are Planning Civil Disobedience [NYT]
· Fast Food Pay Fight [USA Today]
· All Protest Coverage on Eater [-E-]