Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

About 1,300 workers scheduled to attend convention, want $15-an-hour wages and a union
Associated Press
Jul 25, 2014

Fast food workers say they're prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers will discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

About 1,300 workers are scheduled to attend sessions Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Illinois, where they'll be asked to do "whatever it takes" to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union.

The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that began in late 2012 in New York City and have included daylong strikes and a protest outside this year's McDonald's Corp. shareholder meeting that resulted in more than 130 arrests.

"We want to talk about building leadership, power and doing whatever it takes depending on what city they're in and what the moment calls for," said Fells, adding that the ramped-up actions will be "more high profile" and could include everything from civil disobedience to intensified efforts to organize workers.

"I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us," perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald's for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother, but the family still has difficulty paying utilities and the mortgage while providing for her children. She said she has not been to a doctor in two years and does not get paid if she stays home sick.

"To have a livable wage, it's going to need to be $15 an hour," said Delisline. "We make the owners enough money that they have houses and cars and their kids are taken care of. Why don't (they) make sure I can be able to do the same for my kids and my family?"

The campaign comes as President Barack Obama and many other Democrats across the country have attempted to make a campaign issue out of their call to increase the federal and state minimum wages.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour translates to about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, though many fast-food workers get far fewer hours. Obama and others have called for increasing it to $10.10.

Fast food workers say even that's not enough because most people working in the industry now are adults with children, rather than teenagers earning pocket money. The restaurant industry has argued that a $15 hourly wage could lead to business closings and job cuts, though the Seattle City Council recently voted to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour, phased in over several years.

A McDonald's spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.

The National Restaurant Association said Thursday that increasing wages to $15 will not solve income inequality and that the campaign was an attempt by unions to boost dwindling membership.

"Instead of demonizing an industry that opens doors for workers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, the focus should be on finding better solutions to lift individuals out of poverty," including policies that increase education and job training, said Scott DeFife, the association's executive vice president of policy and government affairs.

Turnout for the protests has varied, but they've struck a chord at a time when the gap between the country's rich and poor has widened. Executive pay packages also are coming under greater scrutiny, including that of McDonald's CEO Don Thompson, who was given a pay package worth $9.5 million last year. Nevertheless, shareholders this year overwhelmingly voted in favor of McDonald's executive compensation practices.

Nancy Salgado of Chicago said she and her two children share a bedroom after being forced to move into an apartment with two other adults after her hours at McDonald's were cut from 40 a week to about 24.

"I don't think $15 will make me rich. ... I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don't want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick," said Salgado, who earns minimum wage after 12 years with the company.

"If we've got to stop working and shut down (restaurants) to get it, that's what we're going to do," she said.

Comments

downthemiddle

Which labor union is paying their travel expenses? seiu?

The Big Dog's back

Why do you care?

downthemiddle

Because I have stock in a few fast food chains... as do you if you if you have any mutual funds in your uaw defined benefit pension.

That's why.

...But you wouldn't know what you've got because somebody else got it for ya'.

Got it?

The Big Dog's back

So you hate the workers even though they're the ones making money for your stock value.

downthemiddle

Far from hating them.. I want them to be paid correctly for their work. Hopefully, they will obtain better employment and be able to afford a better standard of living which includes fast food that doesn't cost like lobster because of inflated wages throughout the food industry.

You hate capitalism so badly that you would prefer spiraling inflation.... like Carter had in '79.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

They aren't even paid the $15/hour they are demanding. In its own way it would appear to be ironic. I do feel bad for these workers being caught in the position they are in. There's a whole lotta desperation going around and unfortunately that makes people do rash things based on ignorance.

Meanwhile our President is browbeating American corporations for (supposedly) doing what he does on a regular basis and not doing anything at all to actually make an environment that is friendly and competitive. Congress isn't much better and the reason why nothing has changed in 40-50 years is because our Congress hasn't.

While it's a slight deviation from topic: http://conventionofstates.com/

jibber jabber

YOU know, Inflation is going to go UP no matter if wages go up or not. And that's been proven every year.

The only other alternative is, they can collect from the welfare system, mothers living in there cars with there children.

You have been lied to so much for so many years, you need to wake up.

puddin95

Now for us making 18 to 23 dollars an hour how do we increase it like they are?

Maggdi

You don't Puddin'.
Wage disparities make the people who have lower skill levels feel bad about themselves and no one should feel bad about their self... So people with higher skills should just shut up and do their part for the betterment of EVERYONE!
I'm sure everyone here would agree that everyone can not make a million dollars a year....? Right?

Bottom Line

It makes you feel like all hope for our nation is lost when there's people who actually believe they're entitled to $15 per hour for flipping burgers. And they're all too dumb to realize they would be the FIRST ones negatively impacted by it happening.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"...I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don't want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick,..."

Reminds me of the Onion article (http://www.theonion.com/articles...):

Nation Just Wants To Be Safe, Happy, Rich, Comfortable, Entertained At All Times
Also Healthy, Fulfilled, Successful, and Loved

These are all things that we desire, they are not things that can (let alone should) be guaranteed in life. After 12 years, why is she in the same job making minimum wage? There's always more to the story. As much as I believe she doesn't see her desires to have OTHER people secure HER happiness as absurd...there it is.

#FWP
http://first-world-problems.com/...

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/fi...

WhatTheHeck

Very good comment

44846GWP

$15 an hour?! No. Fast food is an entry level job, or a part-time job to supplement income. It's not meant to be a living wage job! Get a G.E.D., then go to College.

Dr.Gonzo

Now if they would only put this much effort into getting a better education..........

Please

If you don't like your job because of what you are making, use your skills to get a better paying job! That's what everyone says about others that complain about how dangerous their jobs are or how much they hate their jobs. Applies to these positions also. Don't like it go somewhere else!

Sandumpy Proud

We shall overcome!

Donegan

Pay them 100 bucks a hour! For god's sake let them make 300,000 dollars a year!!! Let them aspire to what they despise, Let them realize that they are the evil that is rotting the US from the core out but not actually working for it and being handed the golden ring..
Nah let them re-elect the same parties hat have lead them here. Re-tarted voters will always vote for the lowest denominator.
When the inmates rule the asylum its hard to argue about the bill.

Dr. Information

Or as Nanci Pelosi would say, unemployment is actually freedom to pursue whatever you want to do in life.

wigglewagon

15 dollars an hour lol this has got to be a joke right? Fast food is a job for high school kids just because there too lazy or can't stop smoking pot to get a real job don't mean you should make 15 an hour at McDonald's. Grow up get an education and get a real job.

FunnyGuy

One more reason not to eat fast food.

The Big Dog's back

The classic image of the high-school student flipping Big Macs after class is sorely out of date. Because of lingering unemployment and a relative abundance of fast-food jobs, older workers are increasingly entering the industry. These days, according to the National Employment Law Project, the average age of fast-food workers is 29. Forty percent are 25 or older; 31 percent have at least attempted college; more than 26 percent are parents raising children. Union organizers say that one-third to one-half of them have more than one job — like Mr. Shoy, who is 58 and supports a wife and children.

Dr. Information

Sound like a bunch of people who continue to make mistakes and want others to pay for it.

Maggdi

Did you know that when you copy and paste something that you should at least put parentheses around it and maybe site the author or publication it came from? Otherwise it's called plagiarism.

Contango

Agreed.

His source:

"Life on $7.25 an Hour":

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/0...

Liberals believe that theft for the purposes of redistribution is almost always permissible.

If a person poorer than themselves robs their home, a 'true' compassionate liberal shouldn't want the items returned should they?

The Big Dog's back

And if I did that would it make a difference in your thinking? I'll answer that for you. NO!!!!

Maggdi

You're right Dog. It would make no difference to me. But the point was it's at the very least rude not to give credit to the person who's written thought was inspiring enough to copy......
And the reason it would make no difference to me is that I know the fact that no matter how justified this mob thinks it is in their stated grievance, eventually you "run out of other people's money" (to quote Lady Margret Thatcher)
See? It wasn't that hard and I didn't even have to copy and paste. :)

jazzbo

Maggdi- that was rambling crap.

You should have copied and pasted somebody else work rather than put your own "thoughts " down.

The Big Dog's back

magpie, I was showing the average age of people who work in fast food. It's not 16 year olds as some of you right wingnuts think.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It is lazy and dishonest. At least have a modicum of self respect and credit the source from which you copy. If you can't be bothered to cite where you got your info why SHOULD anyone care about what you have to say? Nothing is wrong with paraphrasing articles (I do it often) but to just leave it out there like their words are yours? That is intellectually immoral and deceiving to whatever kind of reader you hope to reach.

The Big Dog's back

I give a sheet what you think. I don't tell you how to post so don't tell me. Now go back in the closet.

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