Raleigh-Durham McDonald workers strike for $ 15 minimum wage
McDonald’s workers in the Raleigh-Durham area staged a strike on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign to demand a $ 15 minimum wage and a union.
“I have a little sister and a family I take care of earning $ 9.25 an hour,” said Nashoun Blount, an employee of Raleigh McDonald. “It’s not enough, all of you. It’s not enough. We have to come here and stand up and protest just to let McDonald’s know that we are serious about what we deserve in this country.
Workers, organizing through various advocacy organizations such as the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, La Sembra, and The Fight for 15, gathered outside Guess Road McDonald’s to sing, display signs and give testimonies on the need to increase wages.
Cars carrying signs saying “Fight for 15” and “15 for NC” circled the store parking lot, honking in support of speakers and joining in chants of “We Work.” We are sweating. Put 15 on our checks. ”
The strike, which took place in 15 cities across the country, comes the day before the annual meeting of shareholders is held by McDonald’s. Employees hope to draw attention to the fact that McDonald’s made $ 5 billion in profit during the pandemic, without ever increasing the salaries of its American employees.
“They gave it to their shareholders instead of giving us raises,” Precious Cole, a McDonald’s employee, said at the event. “Honestly, I don’t know why they are resisting, because they have the money – they can do it now.”
Describing long hours without a break, inadequate protections against COVID-19 and an unfriendly corporate culture, speakers drew a stark contrast between the family-friendly “best first job” image they say of McDonald’s and the harsh underpaid reality they endure at work.
McDonald’s workers also went on strike last year in response to the company’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers in 20 US cities protested for better working conditions, including better access to personal protective equipment. McDonald’s called it a “publicity stunt”.
In April of this year, McDonald’s announced it would increase the minimum wage to $ 11 for entry-level workers and $ 15 for shift supervisors at its branches. However, this change will only affect 5% of their US stores, and employees say that is not enough.
“When we lift from the bottom, everyone gets up,” said Ana Blackburn, member of the NC Poor People’s Campaign. “But if you live in a society where your leaders value companies over people, while stripping workers of their dignity by denying them a living wage, then they are perpetuating the systemic poverty that exists in this United States.”
McDonald’s has yet to respond to national strikes.
Kyle Ingram is a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill and an intern at NC Policy Watch.