By Michael Sabbagh
Joining a nationwide wave of protests, fast food workers all over the city walked off the job on May 10th to demand better treatment, union representation, and raising wages to $15 an hour. The Detroit walk-out followed protests that started late last year in New York and spread to Chicago and St. Louis, and has since emerged in Milwaukee.
National Action Network (NAN) and the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), whose Detroit chapters helped organize the latest walk off, estimate that nearly 400 employees took part in the daylong event, making it the single largest strike yet. Locations ranged from multiple McDonald’s, who brought in back up workers that also walked off the job, Long John Silvers, Burger King, Popeye’s Chicken and KFC.
Detroit was also the first the of the fast food worker strikes to take place in a right to work state. “Right to work” is a name for legislation aimed at greatly weakening unions and their place in society defending workers. The right to work law took effect earlier this year despite massive protests at the State Capitol building. Organizers claim that walk offs will continue throughout the summer until the workers’ demands are met.
For more information about the campaign and how to get involved, please visit detroit15.org.