Wednesday, December 4, 2013
One year after the first strike hit the $200 billion fast-food industry, Charleston workers are expected to walk off their jobs Thursday, joining a 100-city strike wave. Workers will go on strike in every region of the continental United States and will be joined by supporters rallying in an additional 100 cities, as the fight for $15 an hour living wage and the right to form a union without retaliation continues to grow. This marks the first time Charleston fast-food workers have joined the spreading strike wave. These strikes are part of a growing fast-food worker movement that started with 200 workers striking in New York City just one year ago.
Workers are expected to strike at Charleston’s major fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Clergy, elected officials and community supporters will join fast-food workers on the strike lines.
WHO: Workers at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King; Community from Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment (CAFE) and the South Carolina Progressive Network; Reverend Dixon of Summerville Christian Fellowship
WHAT: Workers walk off jobs in call for a $15 an hour wage and the right to form a union without interference from employers
WHERE: 2036 Savannah Highway, Charleston
WHEN: 11:30 a.m.
WHY: The country’s fastest growing jobs are also the lowest paid, slowing the recovery and hurting the local economy. While the fast-food industry is making record profits, its workers are forced to rely on public assistance – to the tune of seven billion taxpayer dollars each year – just to afford the basics. That’s why fast-food workers from across the country are joining together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference.
The median wage of fast food workers nationally is about $9.05 an hour. An adult with one child needs to make $18.27 an hour working full time in the Charleston area just to afford the basics, according to a model developed by a professor at MIT.
In addition to Charleston, strikes will hit cities all over the country, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Raleigh and Tampa.
The movement has grown steadily since then, with strikes spreading to seven cities in the spring and fast-food workers in 60 cities going on strike on Aug. 29. This is the latest in an escalating series of walkouts and protests by workers across the country. Last week, more than 100 workers and supporters were arrested as thousands of Walmart workers protested at 1,500 stores nationwide on Black Friday, calling for Walmart to publicly commit to paying $25,000 a year, providing full-time work and ending illegal retaliation.