Photo: Action Now members at a McDonald's strike , chanting, "Get Up! Get Down! Chicago is a union town!
On December 5, 2013 Action Now joined fast food workers for an exciting day of strikes around Chicago! Workers held their biggest strikes yet as a part of their continued campaign for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union.
Action Now members are proud to support these courageous fast food employees who are risked their jobs to fight for a better future for ALL workers. The strikes are already creating change: the night before workers went on strike in over 100 cities, President Barack Obama made a speech about the problem of income inequality in America. Dorian Warren, a professor of political science at Columbia University said, "If we hadn't had this year of these one-day strikes, we would not be having this conversation, I'm pretty convinced. In that sense, these strikes and protests are agenda-setting, and that's the case with all social movements."
We started out the day of strikes with a 6 a.m. rally at the McDonald's on Chicago and Damen to support workers who were brave enough to walk off the job. Janah Bailey, one of the workers at that McDonald's, shared how she works two fast food jobs (the other at Wendy's) yet still can't afford to make ends meet!
Nancy Salgado, another McDonald's worker, pointed out, "They have money to be remodeling stores, to buy yachts, to open franchises; how is it that they don't have money to pay us a fair wage? We are the backbone of those stores. We deserve a piece of that pie. We deserve $15."
We continued with strikes downtown at Sears, Walgreens, Wendy's and another McDonald's. Chanting and marching with a huge Grinch in tow to represent the greed of these billion-dollar corporations that refuse to give workers basic rights.
Video of us singing at a downtown McDonald's that refused to let us in:
Then we went to fast food restaurants in Chicago's communities to support workers going on strike in our neighborhoods! Action Now President Gloria Warner was at a South Side McDonald's strike and stated, "When workers are paid a living wage, it helps build up our whole community!" Higher wages lead to less crime, less violence and a better quality of life for working families.
Short video clip of us having fun and staying warm at a neighborhood strike:
The next day we attended "walk-backs" to make sure that employees would not be retaliated against for standing up for their rights. These fast food franchises saw that the community has workers' back and that we are all in this fight together!