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Striking fast food workers and supporters in St. Louis.
New York fast food workers staged a one-day strike on April 4. Chicago fast food and retail workers did the same on April 24. May 8 and 9, fast food strikes have hit St. Louis, with workers at a Jimmy John's and a McDonald's walking out Wednesday evening and workers at more restaurants following Thursday morning. Workers in St. Louis tell stories that are familiar if you've followed the New York and Chicago strikes: It's not just the low pay, though they can't live on the $7.35 state minimum wage and are often forced to choose between rent and food. It's also about abusive and humiliating treatment:
Rasheen Aldridge had just finished working the lunch rush at the Jimmy John's in Soulard when he says his manager handed him a hand-written sign and asked that he hold it while he snapped a photo. The sign's message? "I made three wrong sandwiches."

"It was humiliating," Aldridge, 19, recalls of the incident about a month ago that he says came in retaliation for him putting eight peppers on a sandwich that called for just five and layering meat in the wrong fashion on another sandwich. "I felt that I had to pose for picture. In the fast-food industry, you can get fired at the drop of a hat."

Workers report that their health and safety are routinely disregarded, with first aid kits not kept fully stocked to treat workers who are injured or burned on the job. Captain D's worker Tomecka Wilson,
[...] who’s pregnant and expecting to give birth in five weeks, told Salon that her job requires her to stay on her feet for several hours without breaks, taking orders, ringing up customers and making food—all while being yelled at by managers and customers. She said her feet are swollen to the point that she’s stopped wearing shoes outside of work, and her doctor has told her to wear a brace. But Wilson told Salon that she laughed off a manager’s suggestion that she take unpaid maternity leave, because the company’s low wages and insufficient hours have made that impossible to afford. Already, she said, "I’m borrowing to make ends meet."
St. Louis Jobs with Justice is a lead organizer of this strike, which, like those in New York and Chicago, has strong support from local unions and community groups.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu May 09, 2013 at 07:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Invisible People, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If they're this bad then.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, OooSillyMe

    I hope they shut them down permanently.  I don't eat at these places unless someone is paying so i can't say that I would miss them... whatever.  

    To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

    by soros on Thu May 09, 2013 at 07:45:02 PM PDT

  •  MO Stories Back 2 Back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The "Show Me" state showing its good and bad here on the front page.  

    I remember like yesterday when I phone-banked a guy in the western part of the state and said "it would be cool if your state turns blue on election night."  And I could hear him grinning and agreeing through the phone.  

    That was 2004 and apparently even now, a long way from happening.

    "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

    by emobile on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:25:18 PM PDT

  •  Photographed with a sign "I made 3 wrong sand- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    wiches'.  What? Were all the 'I slept with a Jew' signs taken?

    Does this manage have no sense of decency?  Does he sense of what constitutes humiliation?


    He should be photographed with an "I am a total asshole' sign.

  •  Good for them!!! (0+ / 0-)

    All fast food workers in this country should go on strike! It'll be good for workers' rights and the nation's nutritional health in general!

    I worked for five days in fast food and I was appalled at the conditions workers are forced to endure. I think fast food workers have the same stress levels as air traffic controllers except that they're paid much less.

    When I worked at KFC, I was verbally and emotionally abused by my manager... as was everybody else employed by that branch. My manager would yell and scream at me. She bullied employees and would force them to pick up burning-hot containers of mashed potatoes and baked beans with their bare hands. She forced me to sign forms saying that I had been trained and had gone through instructional sessions EVEN  THOUGH I HADN'T! She then scheduled me for very short sessions (four hours a day, two days a week) and then cut even those sessions short, telling me to "go home" because "business is slow." During the two or three short hours I was there, my manager took me off the packing line and made me wash dishes, so I basically received no packing training or practice. She allowed five or six day periods to pass between my second and third work days there so I would basically forget anything I learned there. On my fourth day, my manager evaluated me, said I wasn't "cutting it" and fired me.

    I'm now working as a CNA in an assisted living facility. I'm making 15 dollars an hour doing basic hygiene, feeding and companionship services to elderly clients. Work here is much, much less stressful. My supervisor is a joy to be with (I was shocked by how polite an actual competent supervisor can be). I'm working 35 hours a week and can now afford rent, food, and retirement savings.

    Please, to anybody working minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, please quit and consider taking CNA classes instead. Being a CNA isn't difficult. The pay is better, the work more fulfilling and your treatment more humane. CNA classes only cost a few hundred, which can be easily made up within your first month of work. Many elderly people want in-home CNAs to avoid being placed in nursing homes so the job opportunities are endless.

  •  Could this be the beginnings ... (0+ / 0-)

    of the next and most effective 'Occupy' movement?

    I feel my body weakened by the years, as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death? Or could it be they fear the joy of life?

    by northsongs on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:07:33 AM PDT

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