Chicago fast food, retail workers strike today - workers walk out at some McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Macy’s in push for higher wages, union
April 24, 2013
Community organizers said they expect hundreds of fast food and retail workers in Chicago to walk off the job Wednesday in a campaign to push for higher wages.
The Fight for $15 campaign, named for its goal of securing $15 an hour for workers, said it expects McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Macy’s, Sears and Victoria’s Secret store in the Loop and Magnificent Mile to be affected.
The rolling strikes began at 5:30 a.m. as workers walked off the job at some McDonald’s restaurants and Dunkin’ Donuts. Strikes are expected later this morning at some retailers. A rally is planned for 4 p.m. at the St. James Cathedral near Huron and Rush streets. A McDonald’s spokeswoman said that while the company believes “a few workers may have walked off the job,” it was “not a high number at all.” Basically, they are daring you to boycott them and daring their workers to strike because they feel like they can do anything they want to their workers and have no consequences. Let’s call their bluff.
"Our downtown restaurants remain open, and it remains business as usual for us," she said.
Representatives for Dunkin Donuts and Subway said that hourly wages are set at the discretion of franchisees who operate their restaurants.
"Fight for 15, seeks to put money back in the pockets of the 275,000 men and women who work hard in the city’s fast food and retail outlets, but still can’t afford basic necessities," the group said in a release. "If workers were paid more, they’d spend more, helping to get Chicago’s economy moving again."
Wednesday’s action follows a nationwide Black Friday strike by Walmart workers and comes just weeks after 400 fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City.
"Fast food and retail workers bring more than $4 billion a year into the cash registers of the Magnificent Mile and the Loop, yet most of these workers earn Illinois’ minimum wage of $8.25, or just above it," the group said.
In addition to higher pay, Fight for 15 says it is pushing to organize a union for workers. Among those participating will be Aimee Crawford, 56, who said she has worked for 14 months at a downtown Protein Bar restaurant for $8.75 an hour.
"I’m using my retirement funds and my savings to bridge the gap between what I bring home and what I need to survive," Crawford said.