May 25, 2016
By Stephanie West
Detroit, MI – Fresh off of historic wins in New York and California, a delegation of fast-food workers who are leading the Fight for $15 plan to join the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union, pending a vote by cooks and cashiers across the country this summer.
The Fight for $15 leaders, who are members of the campaign’s National Organizing Committee have sent a strong message to companies like McDonald’s that workers are intent on winning not just $15/hr, but also the right to join a union.
“Working together with SEIU members, fast-food workers have won gains from coast-to-coast that were unimaginable just a few years ago,” said Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s and Burger King worker from Kansas City, MO. and a member of the Fight for $15 National Organizing Committee. “Fifteen dollars an hour is becoming a reality for millions of workers. Now, we want to zero in on the other part of our demand: union rights. We are excited about joining together with SEIU to energize that effort and forge a new kind of worker organization that helps lift tens of millions of Americans out of poverty.”
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said that the union would welcome fast-food workers. “SEIU members have stood arm-in-arm with fast food workers and together they have penetrated the national consciousness and changed the conversation around wages in this country. SEIU is ready to double down on our commitment to fast-food workers to help them win their demand for union rights,” Henry said.
SEIU has supported the Fight for $15 since its launch in 2012, when 200 workers in New York City walked off their jobs. Over nearly four years, the bond between fast-food workers and SEIU members has deepened as the union’s support for the campaign has grown.
“Our decision to ask to join SEIU underscores the fact that we want not just $15/hr, but union rights too,” said Guadalupe Salazar, a McDonald’s worker from Oakland who helped lead the $15/hr victory in California “We’re sending a powerful message to companies like McDonald’s that we’re going to keep fighting until we win an organization that helps lift up not just fast-food workers, but all underpaid workers.”