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Sign in Seattle Burger King saying store is closed due to strike.
The ongoing wave of one-day fast food strikes is jumping to the west coast, specifically Seattle, Thursday. Two rounds of walkouts in New York City were followed by Chicago, then St. Louis, then Detroit, Milwaukee, and finally, federal contract workers in Washington, D.C. The strikes are spread across many restaurants in a city, with a minority of workers walking out in most cases, with the goal of building a movement that creates pressure on the industry as a whole, not specific outlets. The strikes have managed to shut down some restaurants at least briefly, though. And that appears to be the case in Seattle:
Organizers behind Seattle fast-food strike say walkouts have shut down six joints there: Taco Bell, 2 BK's and 4 Subways
@dave_jamieson via web
As in other cities, the striking Seattle workers are seeking pay increases to $15 an hour and the right to join a union without retaliation. And their complaints are similar:
“A lot of times we’ll work ‘til 4 or 5 in the morning trying to get things done for corporate people to make money,” said [Taco Bell worker Caroline] Durocher. “And we don’t ever see any of that money.” With a good raise, she told The Nation, “I’d be able to save money to get into my own place…I’d be able to eat something other than Taco Bell. I’d be able to go back to school.”
A number of workers told their stories at a low-wage worker story slam in early May:
Pancho works at a fast food chain & washes dishes by hand because the dishwasher was removed to save money. #povertyslam
@sarahljaffe via Twitter for Android
"Gone a couple days a week with one meal or two meals. I don't think that's right." #povertyslam
@sarahljaffe via Twitter for Android
Washington has the highest state minimum wage, at $9.19, which means that a year of full-time work (rare in the fast food industry) would pay a whopping $19,000.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu May 30, 2013 at 07:54 AM PDT.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Woot! Thanks for the diary. (8+ / 0-)

    SOS - Save Our Sigs!

    by blueoregon on Thu May 30, 2013 at 07:59:22 AM PDT

  •  Amen To These Folks (9+ / 0-)

    I mean if are in so places you can at least work for tips. At these fast food places, well not so much, Look I rarely eat fast food of any kind, And when I do it is usually Jimmy Johns. But if I had to pay $40 cents more for a roast beef sandwich, then so be it, My fellow citizens shouldn't be working for "slave" wages. That just isn't acceptable!

  •  Oh One Other Thing (9+ / 0-)

    again I don't eat much fast food. Well the past two weeks I've been spending a lot of time visiting somebody in a hospital. So like 2-3 meals a day, well fast food cause it is like the only option. Mostly Hardees and Arby's.

    Just ordering a soda, roast beef sandwich, and fries for two is like $12-$14. I'd argue that isn't "cheap." Not everything is like a buck. These places are churning money.

    They ought to pay their workers more.

  •  The only jobs left are service jobs, so maybe (5+ / 0-)

    there is hope for a raise in wages because people who feel they deserve to get back to the middle class will not accept poverty wages for long, I hope

    •  And virtually ALL service jobs (0+ / 0-)

      pay well under $15 an hour. Off the top of my head, the hotel industry would be another industry that ought to be targeted.

      “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

      by Sagebrush Bob on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:52:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is. There are a lot of ongoing efforts to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, roadbear

        unionize that industry.

        But those workers really need to focus on forming Industrial Unions.  Trying to organize the four desk clerks and the six people who work on the cleaning crew at a motel six is damned hard, because it's so easy to replace a few people at one location.

        Hell, they'll just pay a cleaning service instead of hiring their own staff.

        That's when you really, really need an industrial union.

        "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

        by JesseCW on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:28:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think one main goal of republicans (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Damnit Janet, Laconic Lib

      destroying the economy is to drive down wages and increase a sense of job insecurity such that people will be happy to work for less just out of fear.

      •  The "army of surplus labor" (0+ / 0-)

        designed to make laborers accept continually declining standards of living while acting as a sort of insurance policy for businesses against strikes (such as this one). Hopefully the workers are able to get some concessions, but I'm fearful for them.

  •  I feel her pain, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm of the opinion that people shouldn't be eating at fast food joints at all...i don't shop at Walmart either.

    And they scream... The worst things in life come free to us... Cause we're just under the upper hand... And go mad for a couple grams.

    by glb3 on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:35:53 PM PDT

    •  if you mean the woman (10+ / 0-)

      who works for Taco Bell, she eats fast food because a lot of fast food places include meals as part of their 'job package'. It isn't because she wants to eat fast food all the time. And, in some cases, it's the only food available when they have a chance to eat.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:43:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that crap gets old quick. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW
        •  You trade. You swap your personal pan (0+ / 0-)

          pizza from your work for movie tickets from the girl who works at the theater.

          For the next few days, you swap it for a sandwich from the guy who works at subway, and give it to the waitress who works at outback, until she owes you enough that you can score a free dinner.

          Then you ask out a girl and you've got a free date.  I mean, you might be woozy and shit, but it works.

          "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

          by JesseCW on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:32:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm aware of all of that. (0+ / 0-)

        Fast food is unhealthy...for everyone. It's unfortunate that these kinds of businesses exist to pollute our bodies, but it's a free country.
        Walmart is an awful corporation.
        I know people that work at fast food joints. I also know that the meals they eat there are not the only food choices they have. Eating fruits and vegetables at home is pretty economical. Most people now days don't want to be bothered with preparation, or they only like the taste of hamburgers, fries, and pizza....it's a free country.
        I'm aware of the circular trap we have built in our society; people buying cheap, unhealthy food, and served buy poorly paid workers. That model feeds off of each other. Everyone involved is getting screwed...other than the awful corporations. I choose to not support the corporations who are doing this to us with my money. Some may want those corporations to pay employees more money, but that doesn't break our dependence on crappy food. Those eating the crappy food are still getting screwed.

        And they scream... The worst things in life come free to us... Cause we're just under the upper hand... And go mad for a couple grams.

        by glb3 on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:32:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How do we assist? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    Other than supporting the workers virtually, I mean. Walkouts like these are vital, but there has to be more - and typically pressure from customers. That's one of the things that got chains to support integration in the South - when their customers in the North began picketing them.

    I'm not a huge fast food consumer, except for the Au Bon Pain that is in my office building (they have really good salads) and Chipotle. Are there brands or chains that we can frequent that treat their employees well?

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a facist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:39:30 PM PDT

    •  At least here in CA there's In-N-Out. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdowd73, Laconic Lib

      Depending on the area, they start as high as 11 bucks an hour.

      "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

      by JesseCW on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:35:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep (0+ / 0-)

      i pretty much boycott all chains which is not always possible - no local hardware stores for example.  My hope, i guess, is that chain stores become more like Costco or American Apparel (whatever you think of their ads, they are in sharp contrast to the Gap in terms of labor practices), and fast food becomes more like In and Out Burger.

  •  I've never crossed a picket line (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, Sagebrush Bob

    and I never will. But I live in a very rural area with few fast food restaurants, and none of them are taking part in this action. And I hardly ever eat fast food anyway and avoid shopping in big box stores whenever possible, which is most of the time.

    How can someone so physically removed show solidarity and support?

    I think what is happening here is going to have to keep happening and build steam in conjunction with other industries until we have a de facto rotating general strike. I want to help make that happen, if I can. Any thoughts here on the Kos braintrust?

    If this is a derail, and you have practical suggestions for me, feel free to kosmail me. I don't want to make this thread about me.

    I have taken a full year of Law and Government Class and have determined that government and politics are my left ass cheek.-my 18 year old daughter

    by left rev on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:43:49 PM PDT

  •  Very brave! Since service jobs are what we (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, Laconic Lib

    have left after the crash, these jobs need to pay better

    is this why they are striking...more former middle class people need these jobs to pay more

    •  People in poverty need these jobs to pay more. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flowerfarmer, Laconic Lib

      It doesn't matter if those people used to be middle class.

      "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

      by JesseCW on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:39:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      these jobs are almost entirely dependent on consumers with disposable income and cannot be shipped away. Very little of the service industry is based on necessities. Yes, we need food, but we don't need fast food. Eventually, rates of pay must increase or else these corporations risk eliminating their own consumer base.

  •  alas, Seattle like every other big city is now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, roadbear

    so expensive to live in, they do need that $15.00 an hour.

    •  The cost of living is very high in Seattle (0+ / 0-)

      ..and raising a minimum wage to $15 an hour will make the cost of living even more expensive.  But why stop at $15?  How about $20?  $25?  Hell, why not $100 an hour??

  •  news alert (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Laconic Lib

    pay everyone a living wage and the economy will recover, we all will pay a little more and all working people will benefit, amazing.
    of course the takers (1%) will have to sacrifice some of their perks like cheap domestic help but boo hoo they add nothing to our society but support sending the poor into conflict because they are too gutless to fight for the country that allows them to be leaches and takers and drain americas resources for their personal whims.
    these people have gamed the system and its time they were put in their place and that place is not at the head of the table where they reside not because of ability but because of the good ole person system and americas prejudiced past and present.

  •  Admittedly, I'm slow... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but I'm not sure I see the effectiveness of one day walk outs.  Seems like these guys need to unionize and strike for real if they want a raise.  What am I missing?  Is this just to attract worker's attention for a stage 2 of some kind?

  •  Re-read that note on the door. How poorly written (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akesich, Damnit Janet, flowerfarmer

    is that?

    But I love it.

    How dare! our employees support the poverty-stricken!

  •  One huge repercussion of paying higher wages (4+ / 0-)

    would be increased spending in the local economy, which we all know is a bad, bad thing.

  •  We do need to strike (0+ / 0-)

    They cut food stamps, try to take away health care, change Social Security (while robbing the funds), and on and on and on. They call this run away spending and then they give their rich trainers more tax breaks, keep them out of jail when they commit criminal acts. It is time to take to the streets and show WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS CRAP ANYMORE.

  •  Fast Food Chains = Slavery. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jesse Douglas

    Probably why they are called "chains".  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:28:51 PM PDT

  •  some management (0+ / 0-)

    "Due to all employees walking out for the strike for poverty today."

    Yeah, that's not a fucking sentence.

    It truly is amazing the amount of signs I've seen put up by management that have glaring spelling/grammatical errors in them.

    Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

    by Boogalord on Thu May 30, 2013 at 03:04:38 PM PDT

  •  I wish them the best, but robots may replace them (0+ / 0-)

    A robot that can flip burgers costs about $22,000 now.  That's the same as paying a full time worker $11/hr.  

    With the cost of capital (the interest rate) at about 0%, and amortized over 5 years, the cost to the restaurant is $4400/year.  It won't call in sick, and the company doesn't have to put money aside to pay FICA.  It can work 24 hours a day as well.

    I really don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I'm not optimistic for these workers.  Even service workers aren't safe anymore.

    •  It will also never buy a Big Mac (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roadbear

      These companies understand very well that mechanization will do nothing more than undercut their own demand. That's why they've been fighting the small battles (minimum wage, healthcare, guaranteed sick days) rather than just eliminating jobs and avoiding all of it. If McD's/Wendy's/whoever comes out and speaks about mechanization, you can be reasonably sure that they're bluffing.

  •  mixed feelings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jo Bob

    I'm happy to see workers stick up for themselves and organize.  I also agree they should make more money.  

    At the same time, I'm feel the same way about supporting correction officer unions - i think they should be organized and well paid, but i also want to see their numbers shrink (because i want the prison population to go down).  I would also like to see fast food restaurants and chain stores get less market share and therefore, less fast food workers.  Am I the only progressive who feels this way?

    The only way out of this apprehension is the hope that organized workers might actually change the way these businesses operate.  

  •  If the employers have no regard for their (0+ / 0-)

    employees, they should think of possible lawsuits from stupidities like taking out the dishwasher so they can save money washing the dishes by hand.  It wouldn't take much of a lawsuit to cost more than a dishwasher.  And if one of the money saving strategies is turning down the thermostat on the hot water heater ... well, the mind boggles.

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Thu May 30, 2013 at 04:35:59 PM PDT

  •  To work at a fast-food chain... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jo Bob

    You don't need a college degree, a high school diploma, or a GED.  Fast food was, at least some time ago, mostly reserved for kids to gain employment experience.  Fast food is an entry level position, meanning very little employment skills are needed to do the job correctly.  

    Because of the gradual increase of minimum wage, in just about every state, kids are being passed over for employment by adults.  The kids are not gaining any employment skills that will help them with their futures.  

    Working at a fast-food chain shouldn't be a career, unless you are part of management.  It's a stepping stone to bigger and more higher wage jobs.  $15 an hour to take orders?  Or to flip burgers?  Or to take out the trash?  You've got to be out of your minds!

    My advice to anybody who is not happy with their wage, at any job- seek better employment!  Gain the experience and skills you need to move up!

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