The fast food strikes have come to resemble the movement for the 8-hour day from the 19th century. In that case, workers undertook strikes, demonstrations and other forms of protest—including the strikes that led to the creation of May Day as “International Workers Day”—in order to demand that there be a shorter workweek with no cut in pay. Today’s fast food workers are making an analogous demand: they want a livable wage
Fast food workers are fighting the good fight not only for themselves but for other vulnerable workers. They know that their conditions will not improve by bargaining a contract one fast food outlet at a time, but that instead there needs to be a governmental raise in the minimum wage and, frankly, there need to be industry standards to which all fast food—and retail—outlets are held. This will happen if and only if there is a continuous outpouring of public support, much of which has already occurred.
Thus, these actions are being conducted by some very courageous workers of all ages who have decided that they have had enough. They need to know that you are backing them up.
(Bill Fletcher Jr. is the chairman of the Retail Justice Alliance which supports workers in the retail industry fighting for fairness. He is also a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us”—And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. He can be followed on Facebook and www.billfletcherjr.com.)