“All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity. There is no denying a simple truth. America deserves a raise. Give America a raise. …You know what, if I were looking for a job that lets me build some security for my family, I’d join a union. If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union…I’d want a union looking out for me.” — President Obama, Sept 1, 2014, Milwaukee, WI
WILMINGTON – Coming off the first Low-Wage Worker Task Force Meeting, Wilmington fast-food workers will walk off their jobs Thursday as their movement intensifies and continues to spread.
A day after President Obama highlighted their campaign in a Labor Day speech, workers said they will strike at Wilmington major fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Clergy, elected officials and community supporters, including Senator Robert Marshall will join fast-food workers on the strike lines.
|WHO:||Workers at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC
Senator Robert Marshall
Darlene Battle, Executive Director for Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement (DACA)
Elected officials and clergy
|WHAT:||Fast-Food Worker Strike
|WHERE:||9:30am: Strike line and delegation inside Wendy’s
Wendy’s 2205 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington
11:00am: Rally at McDonald’s
McDonalds 700 W. 4th Street, Wilmington
|WHEN:||Thursday, September 4 at 9:30am & 11:30am|
Background: Thursday’s strike comes a week after the first meeting of Delaware’s Low-Wage Worker Task Force which was spearheaded by Senator Robert Marshall to investigate the high cost of low wages in the fast food and other service industries.
The task force’s creation comes at a time when the lowest 20 percent of Delaware’s workforce is growing rapidly while good paying manufacturing and white-collar jobs are declining. Delaware has had a substantial increase in low-wage service sector jobs over the last decade. Nearly 38% of Delaware jobs are now low-wage.
A little more than a month ago, Delaware fast food workers celebrated the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel determination 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, McDonald’s and other fast-food workers have been joining together and going on strike, calling for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. 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.
A campaign that started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast-food workers walking off their jobs demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, has since spread to more than 150 cities in every region of the country, including the South. 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.
DE Fast Food Forward is a movement of DE fast food workers, and supporters from faith, labor and community groups, who are fighting to raise wages and gain rights at work. It is part of the national movement of low-wage workers fighting for a better future.