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Fast-food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

Published: 7/26/14 @ 12:00

Associated Press


Fast-food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are discussing the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

About 1,300 workers were scheduled to attend sessions Friday and today at an expo center in Villa Park, Ill., where they’ll be asked to do “whatever it takes” to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union.

The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that began in late 2012 in New York City and have included daylong strikes and a protest outside this year’s McDonald’s Corp. shareholders meeting that resulted in more than 130 arrests.

“We want to talk about building leadership, power and doing whatever it takes depending on what city they’re in and what the moment calls for,” said Fells, adding that the ramped-up actions will be “more high- profile” and could include everything from civil disobedience to intensified efforts to organize workers.

“I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us,” perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, S.C., who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother, but the family still has difficulty paying utilities and the mortgage while providing for her children. She said she has not been to a doctor in two years and does not get paid if she stays home sick.

“To have a livable wage, it’s going to need to be $15 an hour,” said Delisline. “We make the owners enough money that they have houses and cars, and their kids are taken care of. Why don’t [they] make sure I can be able to do the same for my kids and my family?”

The campaign comes as President Barack Obama and many other Democrats across the country have attempted to make a campaign issue out of their call to increase the federal and state minimum wages.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour translates to about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, though many fast-food workers get far fewer hours. Obama and others have called for increasing it to $10.10.


Posted by dmacker (anonymous) on July 26, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.

I think fast-food workers should make at least $50,000 per year.
Have you ever spent any time in one of these work places.
Twenty people doing the work of five is not easy.
How many people want to work in that environment so you have a real shortage of workers and a high demand for fast-food.
I was at the McDonald,s on 224 and Market Street this week and I couldn't believe the chaos.
I ordered a dipped cone with my meal and the guy put the chocolate on with a plastic spoon.
The people were all screaming at each other and there were three times as many workers as customers and it was lunch hour.
Yes $50,000 is what they should be paid.
That might attract some competent workers and they could live up to the fast-food mantra.

Posted by redeye1 (anonymous) on July 26, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.

dmacker You forgot one thing , we should also give them a Cadillac medical package too. After all they are dealing with hot fries, coffee, etc .sometimes

Posted by DSquared (anonymous) on July 27, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.

Welcome to ObamaWorld. Get used to it America. This Valley voted for it!

Posted by harleydog (anonymous) on July 27, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.

Any of Herb Washington's stores are not staffed with the brightest. Canfield is a disaster, 224 and South Ave I wouldn't walk into because it is so filthy and the new one at Market and 224 is fast becoming another one of his pits.