San Diego Fast-Food Employees Strike for Higher Pay and Better Rights On May 15

by on May 15, 2014 · 6 comments

in California, Civil Rights, History, Labor, Organizing, San Diego

San Diego joins 150-city strike as worker campaign spreads across the globe to three dozen countries and six continents

fightfor 15By Staff

The fast food industry is an issue that isn’t going away. Front line fast food workers in San Diego are living in poverty while working in a $200 billion industry. San Diego workers are calling for $15 an hour wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Employees from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger-King will be joined by the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice board members and community supporters on Thursday May 15 at two strike locations:

WHERE: Burger King, 3676 Market St.
WHEN: Thursday, May 15, action begins at 6:00 am

WHERE: Burger King, 6401 Balboa Ave.
WHEN: Thursday, May 15, action begins at 12:15 pm

Stand beside the striking workers on May 15!

San Diego fast food workers aren’t alone. In the US, strikes are expected in cities from Los Angeles to Boston, including the first-ever walkouts in Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento, as the campaign for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation grows. Around the world, fast-food employees are planning major protests in at least 33 countries, spanning 80 cities, including in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Malawi, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, and the United Kingdom.

A campaign that started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast-food workers striking demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, has since spread to more than 150 cities in every region of the country, including the South—and now around the world. The growing fight for $15 has been credited with elevating the debate around inequality in the U.S. When Seattle’s mayor proposed a $15 minimum wage earlier this month, Businessweek said he was “adopting the rallying cry of fast-food workers.”

As it spreads, the movement is challenging fast-food companies’ outdated notion that their workers are teenagers looking for pocket change. Today’s workers are mothers and fathers struggling to raise children on wages that are too low. And they’re showing the industry that if it doesn’t raise pay, it will continue to be at the center of the national debate on what’s wrong with our economy.

Earlier this year, workers in three states filed class-action suits against McDonald’s alleging widespread and systematic wage theft. And in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, McDonald’s said worker protests might force it to raise wages this year. With shareholder meeting season upon us, and a recent report showing the industry has by far the largest disparity between worker and CEO pay, scrutiny on fast-food companies is bound to intensify. USA Today called the growing worker movement, “the issue that just won’t go away” for the fast-food industry

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bearded OBcean May 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

What’s the age cut-off for the $15/hr minimum wage in fast food? Do you pay that to a 16-year old, or are you pricing out anyone that is under a certain age, which appears would need to be the case. Must you be a mother or father, which the article explicitly mentions as being among today’s workers who are underpaid? Or is it ok to be single?

It’s all well and good to aspire to a higher minimum wage, but it doesn’t sound as though the argument is too well-thought out. What other industries should be in line for a bump in salary in the neighborhood of 80%?

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avatar Jeffeck May 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Why stop at $15.00? A person could live a heck of alot better on $50.00 an hour. Of course that $20.00 loaf of bread and $10.00 gallon of gas might chip away at the ole paycheck… better make it $100.00 an hour

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avatar Marc Snelling May 16, 2014 at 5:46 am

Good point. The price of a Big Mac has gone up 30% since the current minimum wage was set. That ole paycheck is already buying less. Walmart CEO’s earning $10,000 an hour drives up the price of everything.

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avatar Katydid52 May 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Schools have many hourly employees – cafeteria workers, crossing guards, teacher’s aides, etc. If they currently make $3-$5 more an hour than minimum wage today, they would naturally want $18-$20 an hour, with the increase in minimum wage.

Schools have budgets. Do we want them to cut a large percentage of these workers or raise our property taxes to cover the difference?

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avatar Marc Snelling May 16, 2014 at 9:54 pm

The schools also have superintendents. Like Poway USD superintendent John Collins whose compensation package is worth nearly $400,000 a year or $200/hour. (assuming a 40-hour work week). His package includes a 2.5% yearly “longevity” bump plus a yearly cost of living increase. If Cafeteria workers had these yearly percentage increases they would be at $18/hour in a few years.

San Diego school district budgets are in the hundreds of millions and judging by recent scandals there is enough left over for graft and corruption in their construction contracts. But it’s crossing guards that are going to break the bank with a theoretical $3/hour raise?

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avatar Katydid52 May 17, 2014 at 7:24 am

No, it wouldn’t break the bank at all if schools weren’t run so inefficiently. Unfortunately, he negotiated that package, and someone said yes. Hourly workers don’t have the luxury of negotiating anything. They get paid off a chart, just like teachers, and hourly workers can easily be replaced.

Schools are the government, and are run as such. They claim they cannot be run “like a business” which is certainly true – they would all be out of business. Schools, like most businesses, and the entire government, will pass along increases in budgets they need to you and me. The government doesn’t like cuts. It makes the people who line their pockets angry.

I am an hourly worker at a school. My rate was frozen for 5 years when the economy tanked. I guess if I wanted the same level of corporate pay the superintendent gets, I would have become a superintendent.

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