Fight for 15 (89730)
Credit: Contributed

Amsterdam News Staff

McDonald’s cooks and cashiers wanted their employer to know that they’ve had enough.

Last week, thousands of workers and activists announced that they would meet in Chicago this week to protest the billion-dollar fast food company’s annual shareholder meeting in its Oak Brook, Ill. headquarters.

Workers planned on walking off the job Wednesday morning and march to the company’s headquarters. McDonald’s workers planned to be joined by home care workers, child care workers and other workers fighting for a so-called living wage. Protesters will denounce the fact that the company’s stock has hit an all-time high (first quarter profits were 35 percent this year), and yet McDonald’s workers still do not make a living wage.

“McDonald’s sales are going through the roof, but my children have to live with their grandparents because I can’t afford to keep a roof over our heads as long as my paycheck is stuck at minimum wage,” said George McCray, a McDonald’s worker from Chicago. “We’ve been working hard to make new changes like the All Day Breakfast a success and have helped make the company billions, but our wages haven’t budged. How much longer will McDonald’s workers have to wait before the company’s success benefits us too?” McCray makes $8.25 an hour.

“This isn’t just about fast food workers or McDonald’s workers—McWages are holding us all back,” said Vicki Treadwell, a Milwaukee home care worker, in a statement. “As long as McDonald’s fails to pay fair wages and rips off taxpayers, moms like me will have to turn to food pantries to feed our families. With its record profits, McDonald’s can choose to lift up all workers and the economy.”

After 25 years on the job, Treadwell makes $10.75 an hour.

Meanwhile, a delegation of fast food workers leading the Fight for $15 said they planned to join the Service Employees International Union pending a vote across the country by cooks and cashiers. The delegation announced their desire to join SEIU at the union’s quadrennial convention in Detroit.

“SEIU members have stood arm-in-arm with fast food workers and together they have penetrated the national consciousness and changed the conversation around wages in this country,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to workers after they delivered a petition to union leaders and delegates at a pre-convention worker assembly. “SEIU is ready to double down on our commitment to fast food workers to help them win their demand for union rights. Our members are in this for the long haul, and we’re committed to partnering with fast food workers so they can win a self-sustaining organization that will forge a new path for the 70 million underpaid workers across North America.”

One worker, who never thought a movement would reach this point, spoke about a new day in workers’ rights.

“Working together with SEIU members, fast food workers have won gains from coast-to-coast that were unimaginable just a few years ago,” said Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s and Burger King worker from Kansas City, Mo., who’s also a member of Fight for $15’s National Organizing Committee. “Fifteen dollars an hour is becoming a reality for millions of workers. Now, we want to zero in on the other part of our demand: union rights.

“We are excited about joining together with SEIU to energize that effort and forge a new kind of worker organization that helps lift tens of millions of Americans out of poverty,” concluded Wise.