Fight for $15: Milwaukee workers declare McDonald’s move to end lobbying against minimum wage isn’t enough

Contact: Jennifer Owens, jennifer.owens@thefightfor15.org, 312-218-8785

Cooks, Cashiers Nationwide Protest, Calling Fast-Food Giant’s Announcement ‘A Day Late, $15 and a Union Short’

MILWAUKEE – Waving signs reading “McDonald’s: A Day Late, $15 and a Union Short,” McDonald’s workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union protested during the lunchtime rush in Milwaukee and 10 cities from coast to coast Wednesday, sending a strong message to the company that its decision last week to stop lobbying against minimum wage increases isn’t enough.

Cooks and cashiers along with community supporters marched into the local restaurant on west Oklahoma Avenue and demanded $15 an hour and union rights. Chanting “hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages super sized“, workers sent a clear message to McDonald’s that it has the power to immediately pay workers $15 an hour.

“McDonald’s says it supports higher wages, but hasn’t come close to paying the higher wages” said Jennifer Berry, a Milwaukee McDonald’s worker in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “It’s time to give us the money we’ve earned. Too many workers are still relying on public assistance and this isn’t okay. We need $15 an hour and union rights now!”

From Tampa to Los Angeles, cooks and cashiers rallied outside McDonald’s stores, declaring they would keep fighting until the company meets their demands for $15/hour and union rights. They also called on McDonald’s to use its power and influence to support minimum wage increases, not to just stop lobbying against them.

“McDonald’s decision doesn’t change my life one bit. What would change my life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers is what we’ve been asking for since Day 1: $15/hour and union rights,” said Bleu Rainer, a Tampa McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “We’re going to keep up our fight until we win.”

In addition to Milwaukee, cooks and cashiers protested Wednesday in Los Angeles, Calif.; Flint, Mich.; St. Louis, Mo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Durham, N.C.; and Memphis, Tenn.;

By speaking out for $15/hour and union rights workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union have pushed six states and Washington, D.C. to pass $15/hour minimum wages. Major companies including Costco, Target, Disney and Amazon have also made the move to $15/hour. And more than 200 U.S. Representatives have signed on in support of a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.

“McDonald’s decision was a direct response to the thousands and thousands of us who’ve taken to the streets, gone on strike and even gotten arrested in our fight for $15 and union rights,” said Tyree Johnson, a Chicago McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “And as $15/hour is increasingly seen as the minimum workers everywhere need to get by, McDonald’s clearly saw that using its power and money to block minimum wage increases was out of step with the direction of the country.”

Since the beginning of the movement in 2012, 24 million workers have won raises, totaling $70 billion. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers are now covered by a $15/hour law or a path to it.

The protests came a day after McDonald’s workers in Durham, N.C. went on strike, calling on the company to address sexual harassment faced by employees in its stores.

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