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Chicago's Fast Food and Other Low Wage Workers Stage One-Day Walk Out

The "Fight for 15" (dollars per hour, a.k.a., a living wage) hits the windy city.

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The strikes aren’t spreading by accident. November New York fast food strikers  told Salon that they drew inspiration from workers who walked out of Wal-Mart stores, who in turn cited  the example of their Wal-Mart warehouse counterparts. Interviewed while on strike April 4, New York fast food workers said that November’s smaller walkout had made that day’s work stoppage possible. “I was waiting” during the first strike, said Brooklyn Burger King worker Christelle Lumen. “I wanted to know, would they be OK with it? Would they fire the people that went on strike?” (Organizers say almost all of the November fast food strikers returned to work without incident; a termination at one Wendy’s  was reversed within an hour after local politicians and activists occupied and picketed the store.)

Though New York and Chicago have the only campaigns of their kind to go public so far, fast food organizing efforts are also underway elsewhere. Could they ever build the clout to bring service sector giants to the table? Maxie-Collins said that seeing fast food workers strike this month gave her hope: “That proved to me that if I stand up, and voice our opinion, and show everyone what’s going on, a change can happen. It might not be immediate, but the groundwork will be laid for our children and grandchildren … Change is going to start from this.”

 

 

 

Josh Eidelson (josheidelson.com) is a Nation contributor and was a union organizer for five years. He covers labor as a contributing writer at Salon and In These Times. Check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.

 
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