FOREWORD BY THE EDITOR OF “LOST BELOW THE FOLD” LAUREN CROOM Follow @LOSTBELOTHEFOLD
Understanding and talking about what is “unjust” is common. However, to stand up for yourself and others who are voiceless, by walking off the job with no guarantee that you will have one to return to is just pure heroism.
BY SETH FREED WESSLER
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Fast food workers are expected to walk off the job in an estimated 150 cities on Thursday, with employees in many locations planning nonviolent civil disobedience.
Organizers say the strike—with potentially widespread arrests of workers—marks an intensification of a two-year campaign to raise hourly pay in the industry to $15 and to win workers’ right to form a union. On Thursday morning, organizers said dozens of workers had been arrested in Detroit and New York’s Times Square.
In Kansas City, Missouri, workers are expected to walk out of 60 restaurants. Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy’s worker, is one of dozens of fast food employees in Kansas City who plan to sit down in a city intersection, lock arms and get arrested.
“We’re a movement now,” Caldwell said on Wednesday before starting a shift at Wendy’s. She and several co-workers said that 25 of the more than 30 non-management employees in their restaurant have pledged to strike. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we’re going to fight it till we win,” said Caldwell, 31, who is raising four children alone on $7.50 an hour and was living in a homeless shelter until earlier this year.
The strikers cite frustration about their continued struggle to survive at the bottom of the labor market even as the broader economic news seems positive. “They say the economy is getting better, but we’re still making $7.50,” said Caldwell. “Nobody should work 40 hours a week and find themselves homeless, without enough money to buy them and their kids food, needing public assistance.”