Will Fast Food Workers Around The World Strike On May 15?

In an effort to raise awareness for their goal of higher wages for fast food workers, labor organizers announced today that May 15 will be a day full of walk-offs, with workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and other eateries striking in 150 cities on six continents (sorry, Antarctica).

According to the organizers, fast food employees in 33 different countries are planning to take to the streets on the ides of May, protesting for $15/hour wages and the right to join a union (or at least not be retaliated against or fired for asking for these things).

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a meeting in New York City of fast food employees from around the world, organized by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF).

Here in the states there are walk-outs planned in multiple locations, with organizers citing Oakland, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Miami and Orlando. Globally, there will be strikes and protests in cities like Rabat, Morroco; Hong Kong; Seoul; Bangkok; Auckland; Brussels; Dublin; Rome; Buenos Aires, among many others.

Some of the protestors, especially in Europe, are not seeking to improve their own wages, but to highlight what they believe are bottom-dollar wages for workers elsewhere in the world.

“In Denmark, McDonald’s pays me $21 an hour and respects our union, so I was surprised when I heard workers in the US had to fight so hard for just $15 and better rights,” said one Danish worker who plans to protest on May 15. “Fast food companies need to treat the people who make and serve their food with the same respect everywhere and workers in Denmark are committed to supporting the workers’ cause until that happens.”

One question that has dogged these protests since they began about two years ago is whether or not the people striking outside of these locations are employees or just union members who don’t actually work at one of these chains. Detractors of the protests claim the allegedly low number of actual workers in these strikes is a sign that employees don’t agree with the protestors. Supporters of the movement say the numbers are higher than reported and that many workers are still too afraid to walk out or to be seen protesting.

For example, late last year the operator of several Domino’s franchises in NYC was accused of firing 25 employees who filed complaints with the state for being underpaid. It’s the fear of these kinds of retaliatory actions that keeps some fast food workers from voicing their opinions, claim strike organizers.

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  1. Thorzdad2 says:

    “Will Fast Food Workers Around The World Strike On May 15?”

    I’d be surprised if even a handful of fast food workers even know about this.

  2. CzarChasm says:

    $21 an hour for a fast food worker? Sounds a bit steep, although they charge $12 for a value meal that normally costs $5 here, so I guess they can afford it.

  3. Xenotaku says:

    I’m surprised Seattle isn’t one of the cities, but, then again, the Mayor did just announce his $15/hour plan.

    Personally, as someone who makes a bit over minimum, I’m /scared to death/ of my pay being raised. Why? Because I just barely squeak into my health care bracket. If my wages go up, I’m suddenly going to have my health insurance premiums skyrocket, which will cost me more than the increase in wages.

  4. EducationalGeek says:

    I have no sympathy for these people. They have come in and taken jobs that normally were filled by high school students. Most of the places employee aliens…notice I didn’t say illegal. It’s sad that teens have a hard time finding employment at these places. Who the hell is the IUF anyway? Some fly by night organization? Unions suck