Fast food workers are planning protests and acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrest in more than 150 U.S. cities on Thursday as part of a demonstration supporting higher wages.
McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King are among the restaurants that will be targeted, according to organisers.
This is the latest in a string of protests involving fast-food workers.
Protestors stormed McDonald’s headquarters in May ahead of its annual shareholders meeting, leading to dozens of arrests. The company was forced to vacate one of the buildings on its campus as a result of the demonstration.
Earlier in May, workers in more than 100 cities across the U.S. walked off their jobs. Workers and supporters also protested at the chains’ international locations in 30 countries.
Protestors are calling for a $US15 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is currently $US7.25 an hour, which adds up to about $US15,000 a year assuming a 40-hour workweek.
In a Labour Day speech in Milwaukee, President Obama mentioned the protestors’ campaign, saying, “All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organising 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.”
Obama added that he would want a union “looking out” for him if he worked in the service industry.
“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,” he said. “I’d want a union looking out for me.”
The National Restaurant Association argues that unions are organising the protests to increase their membership.
The fast food movement is funded and organised by the Service Employees International Union. In addition to protests, labour organisers have been calling attention to abuses in the fast food industry with lawsuits alleging wage theft.
In one recent case, a McDonald’s franchise owner was forced to pay nearly $US500,000 in back wages to employees who were illegally underpaid.
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