As many as 400 Detroit fast food workers walked off the job Friday in a mass action that mimics similar stikes in three other cities in recent weeks. On Wednesday, dozens of St. Louis fast food workers also went on strike.
As the Nation’s Josh Eidelson reports:
Hundreds of Detroit fast food workers plan to walk off the job beginning at 6 AM today, making the motor city the fourth in five weeks to see such strikes. Organizers expect participants from at least 60 stores, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Little Caesar’s, and Popeye’s locations.
Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers.
Like strikes in other cities, the Detroit workers are demanding a raise, to $15 an hour, plus the right to unionize. The strikes hold particular significance in Detroit, where the decline of unionized manufacturing jobs has transformed the city and left many residents to rely on low-wage jobs. According to organizers in Detroit, there are now over 50,000 fast food jobs in the city, two times the number of remaining auto-manufacturing sector jobs. And like the rest of the country, most near-term job growth in Detroit is expected in the low-wage, service sector. Organizers say that’s why the jobs need to pay a living wage.