UPDATE: Nine people were arrested near the corner of Auburn Road and Central Avenue Thursday morning, after more than two dozen people, protesting as part of the “Fight For 15” campaign, were blocking traffic during the demonstration. The campaign is led by fast-food workers across the country who are fighting to form a union and demanding at least $15 per hour.
Online Staff Report
Coming off a convention where they vowed to do “whatever it takes” to win $15 per hour and the right to form a union, Rockford fast-food workers will walk off their jobs Thursday, representatives announced Tuesday, Sept. 4.
A day after President Obama highlighted their campaign in a Labor Day speech, workers said they will strike at Rockford McDonald’s restaurants. The strike is scheduled to begin Thursday, at 9: 30 a.m. Clergy and community and labor supporters are expected to join the workers on the picket lines.
Thursday’s strike comes a little more than a month after the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel determined that, despite McDonald’s repeated claims, the company is a joint employer that exerts substantial power over its employees’ working conditions. For nearly two years, workers have called for a raise, staging demonstrations across the country.
“But, time and time again, the company and other industry players have tried to sidestep workers’ calls, inventing a make-believe world in which responsibility for wages and working conditions falls squarely only on the shoulders of franchisees, not the corporations that control how food is served and priced,” spokesmen for the movement, Fightfor15.org, said in a statement.
The Fightfor15 movement started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast-food workers walking off their jobs. It has since spread to more than 150 cities. The growing fight for $15 has been credited with elevating the debate around inequality in the U.S. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said that it has “entirely changed the politics of the country.” Since the campaign launched, nearly 7 million low-wage workers have seen their wages rise. What seemed like a far-fetched goal–$15 an hour—is now a reality in Seattle, where Bloomberg News said the city adopted “the rallying cry of fast-food workers.”
As it spreads, the movement is challenging fast-food companies’ outdated notion that their workers are teenagers looking for pocket change. Today’s workers are mothers and fathers struggling to raise children on wages that are too low. And they’re showing the industry that if it doesn’t raise pay, it will continue to be at the center of the national debate on what’s wrong with our economy.
Follow all of the nationwide action on strike day at strikefastfood.org and #StrikeFastFood.