Open Thread: Today’s Fast Food Walk Out

I choose to be (cautiously) optimistic. From Reuters, this evening:

Fast-food workers staged strikes at McDonald’s and Burger Kings and demonstrated at other stores in sixty U.S. cities on Thursday in their latest action in a nearly year-long campaign to raise wages in the service sector.

The strikes spread quickly across the country and have shut down restaurants in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Raleigh and Seattle, according to organizers….

“The workers are responding to total failure on behalf of the federal government to raise the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and the cost of living,” said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, an attorney at the National Employment Law Project, referring to the strikes.

The walkouts, coming before the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Monday, also took place in the Southern states of Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University who has published work on labor organizing and inequality, said the significance of protests in the South is “a huge, huge deal.”

“The South has always been the model for low wage employment, from slavery to the Jim Crow laws, to the present. It’s also the most anti-union part of the country, so the fact that workers feel empowered enough to take collective action is enormous,” Warren said.

And the Washington Post reports that the new Labor Secretary “praises fast food protesters, sees continued role as enforcer”:

The recent spate of fast-food worker strikes is another sign of the need to raise the minimum wage for all workers, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an interview with The Associated Press….

Besides supporting higher wages, Perez also plans to continue the work of his predecessor, Hilda Solis, in cracking down on companies that violate labor laws and making sure there’s a “level playing field” for employers who follow the rules.

While he declined to address fast-food workers’ demand to raise wages to $15 an hour, Perez said he is taking a lead role in President Barack Obama’s push to boost the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Obama has called for the wage hike in several recent speeches on the economy, but Congress has not acted….

Anybody want to comment on the situation in your area?






27 replies
  1. 1

    No sign of strikes here that I’ve seen. I heard that they walked out in places around L.A., but none in OC that I’ve heard of. Kind of a shame, because it’s a lot cheaper to live in most parts of L.A. than here – things like mass transit actually exist there.

  2. 2
    lamh36 says:

    no sign of strikes here in Baton Rouge, but then again I haven’t been to fast food place in a while

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    They happened in Madison.

  4. 4
    fka AWS says:

    making sure there’s a “level playing field” for employers who follow the rules.

    Make it easier for them to organize in unions using anonymous balloting and crack down on anti-union strong-arm tactics by shits like the management at Wal-Mart.

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Rush Limbaugh’s reaction?

    “They should find other jobs”

    Rush Limbaugh needs to be put to a slow death.

  6. 6
    someofparts says:

    Well, I got to overhear a fundie, dickhead geologist at work make a crack about going to work for McDonalds.

  7. 7
    Citizen_X says:

    @someofparts:

    a fundie…geologist

    Oy. I probably don’t have to tell you, but these two things do not go together. They never have, and they never will.

  8. 8
    namekarB says:

    Makes me wonder when all the “retired” folks who work at Lowes and Home Depot are going to wake up.

  9. 9
    TrishB says:

    Saw no strikes here in smalltown OH, home of Rob Portman’s restaurant/inn.

  10. 10

    My wife and I were talking at dinner about how the faces behind the counters at fast food places have changed over the years. You still see a lot of young teenagers, to be sure, but more and more, you’re seeing middle aged people and even some seniors…who are not going to put up with this shit.

  11. 11
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think my brother in Seattle is in some significant way responsible for organizing these. He’s annoying like only a little brother can be, and has Firebagger tendencies like you wouldn’t believe, but he fights the good fight and puts himself on the front lines. I gotta respect that.

  12. 12

    The thing that surprises me about it is that the coverage in the LA Times seems to be positive and points out that fast food jobs are no longer the sole province of teenagers, and a lot of the striking workers were adults trying to support families. I wish they would get some real macroeconomists to point out why the panic about increased minimum wage is a load of crap, though.

  13. 13
    p.a. says:

    Checked the SEIU site and there was nothing here in RI.

  14. 14
    jenn says:

    Obviously, I support a hike in the minimum wage, but the more I hear about the screwed up scheduling problems at a lot of these places, the more I feel like that’s just the dealbreaker. Getting a crappy wage sucks, but if you’re only scheduled for part-time, and you don’t find out your schedule until the last minute, wage hikes are going to be of limited usefulness. Whereas, if you have a more fixed/reliable schedule, at least you can get a second or third job. Anyway, more power to everyone protesting, may we get a minimum wage hike passed – and then maybe make sure fairness in scheduling is the next item on the to-do list.

  15. 15
    mdblanche says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: There was an article I saw linked on here a few weeks ago where somebody involved in the strikes said she could find another job… the same as the one she already had.

    Which meant she wasn’t afraid of getting fired. So the job market has recovered enough that people are no longer afraid of unemployment but the jobs available aren’t worth keeping. That’s a great recipe for labor activism, much better than double digit unemployment when everybody hunkers down.

  16. 16

    @mdblanche: Good observation. I think you’re right.

  17. 17
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    Drove by the McDonald’s near the Corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd, big, colorful crowd of people standing out front with signs saying things like “Lucha por $15.” I gave them a couple honks and a peace sign; heard other people honking (in support?) as they drove by as well.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    Since it’s an open thread, I must say…why the stone silence from the I heart Snowden brigade on the revelation that he used identity theft to help steal his trove of documents?

    Having a hard time beating that square peg into the round hole of “whistleblower”?

    Waiting for The Glenn to make his pronouncement so you know what to think about it?

  19. 19
    Gex says:

    “Besides supporting higher wages, Perez also plans to continue the work of his predecessor, Hilda Solis, in cracking down on companies that violate labor laws and making sure there’s a “level playing field” for employers who follow the rules.”

    It saddens me that we can’t just crack down on companies that violate the law in an effort to treat American workers fairly.

    No. The only way to try to sell in this political climate is how it helps other businesses. Corporations above all else.

  20. 20
    Cacti says:

    Also, too, President Evo Morales of Bolivia is demanding Brazil repatriate a Senator who fled there to avoid serving time for corruption.

    So he doesn’t like it when fugitives go on the lam FROM his country. Personally, I think the Senator is a whistleblowing hero.

  21. 21
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Cacti: Just read about that, and it doesn’t fill me with confidence about how the NSA operates. The way he did that should have been obvious to whoever was supposed to set up the security on that network.

  22. 22
    nastybrutishntall says:

    @Cacti: For those of us who spend time at LGF as well, it seems like here the left hand doesn’t know what the other left hand is doing. You put these two sites together, that’s like the only blog you need. Alas.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    @nastybrutishntall: I think the left hand prefers to ignore what the other left hand is doing. Disrupts the narrative.

    I wish these guys well. For pay increases and the scheduling issues. I just don’t know what’s going to happen in this country anymore.

  24. 24

    @Cacti:

    Since it’s an open thread, I must say…why the stone silence from the I heart Snowden brigade on the revelation that he used identity theft to help steal his trove of documents?

    Certainly understand now why the NSA is having trouble figuring out what he stole. But they definitely need to change how they handle their sysadmins.

  25. 25
    Yatsuno says:

    @jenn: If it helps, the protests are also for getting fairer and more regular schedules as well.

  26. 26

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    The way he did that should have been obvious to whoever was supposed to set up the security on that network.

    Maybe. But I don’t think this was as simple a hack as might be inferred from the article. I know some former NSA folks, and among them are straight-up the most talented security experts I’ve ever met. I seriously doubt that their internal security is half-assed.

  27. 27
    bago says:

    @👾 Martin: It’s most likely a lack of an audit trail on sysadmins. I suspect queries against the were heavily logged and as such, discoverable and documented. But if you’re the guy running the backup operation who has admin level access to the disks? Homie grab that data raw. No middle tier for access and tracking needed.

    Hey, let’s outsource the job of our day to day operations to a fireable contractor. What could go wrong.

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