Union organizers are upping the pressure on fast food restaurants to raise their wages by promising a nationwide strike on April 15 – tax day – symbolic because they say employees should be paid at least $15 an hour.
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) organizer Brian Merle Payne says about 60,000 workers nationwide will be “out on the streets”. That number includes fast food workers, and workers in other industries that support a $15 an hour base wage.
“There will be strikes on fast food restaurants all over the Twin Cities Metro area,” says Merle Payne. “And they’ll be joined by home health care workers, airport workers, adjunct professors.”
Local organizers have not announced which restaurants will be targeted but say there will be about 10 to 15. A rally is planned for 4:30 p.m. at the University of Minnesota followed by a march to the nearby Dinkytown McDonald’s restaurant.
CTUL organizers say college students will join the coast-to-coast protests, with students from more than 170 universities planning campus rallies and marches— including the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, and Macalester College.
Wages, sick days, vacation lacking
Merle Payne says most fast food workers make $8 to $8.50 an hour. Rosa Perez Garcia said through an interpreter that she makes $8.75 an hour at her fast food job. “We are here today so that we get paid more, so we get a better wage and we’re here today to say that we are ready to go out on strike on April 15.”
Elaine Ramirez who makes slightly more at $9 an hour said wages are not the only issue. “We’re out here today because we’re fighting for paid sick days, paid vacation and we’re out here fighting for a better future for our children,” she said through an interpreter.
Veronica Mendez Moore, CTUL co-director, stood in front of a McDonald’s on Hiawatha Avenue and criticized the company’s pay policies saying the company’s CEO was making $9,000 an hour while workers were making just $8 an hour. “It’s not sustainable and workers are not going to allow this injustice anymore. So workers are standing up.”