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Yesterday, thousands of fast-food workers went on strike and organized rallies in more than 100 cities demanding a living wage, because, as New York strikers said, “We can’t survive on $7.25.”
These efforts drew so much attention, even President Obama took notice, calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage in solidarity with “airport workers, and fast-food workers, and nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty.” And, as a result of all this organizing, legislation to increase the minimum wage is finally being seriously discussed in Washington.2
All this didn’t happen by accident—it’s the result of amazing organizing by low-wage workers at companies like McDonald’s and Walmart—and MoveOn members have been there to support it every step of the way.
We wanted to share with you some of the highlights of what MoveOn members did to make this moment possible.
On August 29, as fast-food workers marched off the job, more than 100,000 MoveOn members tuned in to watch a Robert Reich Labor Day video where Reich explains how to make sure working families get a bigger piece of the economic pie. And, more than 71,000 people signed Reich’s petition calling for Walmart and McDonald’s to pay employees a living wage.
In October, MoveOn members tuned in to watch a live Google Hangout with Reich and Milwaukee fast-food workers Devonte Yates and Marielle Crowley. Crowley called out the callousness of fast-food corporations when he said, “You’re giving us the minimum and telling us that’s all we’re worth, when we’re bringing in billions in profits.”3
MoveOn members signed thousands of petitions in support of Walmart workers who were striking on Black Friday. And this Wednesday, members delivered thousands of petitions in person, raising their voices with one singular message: Workers need a living wage!
Brian M., a former fast-food worker and MoveOn member who helped lead the delivery in Los Angeles, said, “The energy was high as reporters joined 10 MoveOn members who marched into the McDonald’s on Melrose and tried to give the restaurant manager a petition with nearly 50,000 signatures. Initially, the manager refused to accept the petitions, but we stood strong and even called the corporate office when the manager finally accepted the petitions.
As we walked out of the McDonald’s, we thanked employees for their hard work. And then they thanked us for our support and for being there. It was incredible.”Finally, yesterday, as thousands of people took to the streets and workers participated in strikes in more than 100 cities across the country, Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, shared the following message with MoveOn members:
Fast-food workers and allies have been working with MoveOn members across the country to help mobilize for this important low-wage worker movement, and we’ll continue to support those campaigns as they mobilize their supporters in the fight for worker justice.
When we stand with fast-food workers and support their efforts to attain a living wage, we’re sending a clear message to corporations that we won’t let them continue to amass record profits while exploiting everyday people.