May 19, 2014
By Stephanie West
Washington, DC – Fast-food workers across the US walked off their jobs in more than 150 cities in the largest-ever strike to hit the industry. Also, workers protested in 33 countries on six continents at restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. In all, the campaign for higher pay and rights on the job hit more than 230 cities worldwide.
“Our movement is spreading to all corners of the country—and the world— and the time has come for fast-food companies to act,” said Cherri Delesline, 27, a mother of four, who works at a McDonald’s in Charleston, SC and makes $7.35 an hour. “It’s not OK for the industry to rake in huge profits, but pay us so little that we can’t support our families. Workers are fed up and we’re going to continue growing our fight for $15 until companies like McDonald’s wake up and realize that while their workers may have once been teenagers looking to buy Air Jordans, we are now mothers and fathers trying to raise kids.”
In the US, workers went on strike from Raleigh to Los Angeles at major fast-food restaurants.
In Dorchester, Mass. managers closed down a Burger King where a half-dozen workers were striking. In St. Louis, a corporate McDonald's closed its doors at 3 am because managers knew the entire morning shift was going to walk out, and reopened three hours later with managers at the helm. Nearly 20 workers from that store are on strike. There was no breakfast at a Chicago Burger King when striking workers forced the kitchen to close. Strikes forced a Wendy’s in Pittsburgh to close, as well as McDonald’s restaurants in Oakland and Sacramento. All non-managerial workers walked off their jobs at a First Hill McDonald's in Seattle, forcing managers to keep the store running.
San Diego fast-food workers led hundreds of religious and community supporters through a Burger King drive-thru Thursday morning, chanting, praying and holding signs that read, "Strike for Better Pay" and "Poverty Jobs Hurt San Diego." State legislators joined striking workers outside a Charleston, SC Burger King and a McDonald's in New York City.
Members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Doyle in Pittsburgh and Rep. Jan Schakowsky in Chicago, joined strike lines around the country and released a video declaring their support for the workers.
"Where Congress is failing to take action to address inequality, these workers are leading the way," said Rep. Keith Ellison (D- Minnesota). "Their fight for $15 and a union is a shining light that will ultimately benefit all workers in the country and help lift up our economy. It's clear this movement isn't going to stop until fast-food companies listen to the voices of these workers, who are struggling to support families on as little as $7.25 an hour."