Thursday 4 September saw US fast food workers escalate their strike movement for $15 and a union. Across 150 cities, thousands walked out onto picket lines and protests.
Around 500 took arrests through civil disobedience inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.
The strike was the next step in their struggle that began in late 2012 and since spread to every state. It followed the first ever US-wide fast food workers’ convention in July this year that brought together 1,200 from across the states.
The autumn strike was similar to the last action in May. But it also represented a serious upping the ante on the part of the strikers.
This time the decision by so many strikers to take part in civil disobedience underlined the growing determination of workers to show they are fighting to win, and in for the long haul.
It was also the case that the strikes had intensified, with support deepening inside many workplaces.
Fast Food Rights and BFAWU organisers from the UK were part of an international solidarity delegation that joined the strikers in four key cities: New York, where strikers shut down Time Square; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. We visited the campaign’s base in the South, and witnessed the incredible courage and vibrancy of the strikes there.
Strikers have developed links there with civil rights campaigners, and heard inspiring and encouraging words from Reverend Barber, president of North Carolina NAACP, before they marched off to their main target, a Durham McDonald’s.
He told strikers, to loud cheers, that they were the continuation of the the movement for civil rights, for justice in America and that the CEOs should not be paid when workers, who generate all the profit, can’t afford health insurance, are relying on benefits to survive and can’t take care of their families.