First Hill McDonald’s walkout kicks off Seattle fast food strikes — Early rally at Cal Anderson

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

IMG_0242Pro-labor coalition groups and backers of the $15 minimum wage were on hand Wednesday night as four workers at the First Hill McDonald’s walked off the job as a planned day of worldwide protest against low wages and unfair practices got an early start in Seattle.

“We are not respected by McDonalds corporation,” one striking worker who has been employed by the company for eight months and now makes 15 cents more than the minimum wage told CHS. “We as a team don’t get treated as such. This is about our self respect and dignity.”

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This employee has worked at the First Hill McDonalds for five years. Originally from Mexico, he said he has been in the country for six years. His wages started at $7.15 he said and he now makes $9.32.

A rally is planned Thursday morning in Cal Anderson Park at the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hour of 6:30 AM before workers and supporters march on another international provider of breakfast fast food. The actions are part of a global day of action planned for May 15th to continue to pressure international fast food chains to raise wages and improve their policies for workers.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray made a May Day announcement of his plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15. The plan is now in the hands of the City Council and Socialist first-year representative and labor advocate Kshama Sawant.

A statement on the Seattle strikes sent on behalf of pro-labor group Working Washington is below.

SEATTLE FAST FOOD WORKERS STRIKE

One-day action part of global day of protest against low wages;
Strikes planned all day;
Rallies planned at Cal Anderson Park at 6:30 a.m. and Westlake Park for 4 p.m.

SEATTLE (May 15, 2014) – The same fast food workers who paved the way for Mayor Ed Murray’s historic minimum wage proposal today are going on strike as part of a global movement of workers calling on giant corporations to pay employees $15/hour.

“I’m going on strike because I deserve to make a decent living to support myself and my children without having to depend on public assistance,” said Crystal Thompson, a Domino’s Pizza employee from Seattle. “I’ve been working for Domino’s for five years and am still making minimum wage; this has to change.”

Workers at stores across Seattle will walk off their jobs or not report for duty throughout the day Thursday.

Striking workers are demanding that their employers, mostly billion-dollar corporations, pay workers higher wages. The workers also are taking credit for pressuring the Seattle City Council to consider a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.

Fast food workers in Seattle have staged previous strikes on May 30 and Aug. 29, 2013. They’ve also participated in boycotts and protests, building a movement that’s resulted in the most progressive minimum wage proposal ever considered in a major U.S. city.

The day’s activities kick off with a rally scheduled for 6:30 a.m. at Cal Anderson Park and 4 p.m. at Westlake Park.  Exact strike locations to be announced.

 

29 thoughts on “First Hill McDonald’s walkout kicks off Seattle fast food strikes — Early rally at Cal Anderson

  1. Pingback: Some workers at a Seattle McDonald's stage strike for higher wages – Q13 FOX | Internet News 247

  2. Why Scott? Do you think you have more of a right to get cheap food than they have to make a humane wage? Trust me when I tell you that most minimum wage workers work harder than you could possibly dream of working. I know they work harder than anyone I work with. And they deserve to be compensated fairly. And I’m willing to pay a little extra to make it so. I’m not entitled to buy cheap groceries and clothes or eat out at restaurants on the back of low-wage workers. Nobody is. Period. There is no case to be made otherwise.

    • Perhaps the striking workers should develop their job skills that are in demand and valued. The people that have invested their hard earned money into a franchise like McDonald’s take all the risks and deserve a return on their investment. How many fast food workers are actually trying to support a family? My son is working at McDonald’s to pay for part of his college, The registers actually have pictures and that’s a $30K/year skill? Most of the employees at the store see the job as a stepping stone to advance themselves not a position to support a family. Perhaps we should re-evaluate our education system that graduates students without vocational skills or ability to earn a living wage without pursuing additional education or training. If you choose not to purchase items or patron certain restaurants that’s your right. I would fire the individuals and have their replacements trained before the end of the day.

      • Yikes! Have you been to a fast food restaurant lately? Look at the managers, take a second to look at those kitchen workers, those people aren’t kids; they’re adults trying to eke out a living in an industry that seriously makes many many billions of dollars every year. Why shouldn’t it be the case that no matter what job you work at, that as long as you are busting your ass 40 hours a week, you should live a decent life? These people aren’t asking to live like kings, for goodness sakes! 30k a year in Seattle, with it’s skyrocketing rents and reducing public tranist accessibility, it is just barely good enough to cover all the basics. Look at the actual data surrounding these jobs, instead of making the all too common assumption that everyone that works there is just a kid trying to earn extra spending money, because that flat out isn’t true. Going to school or finding another “better” minimum wage job isn’t always an option for everyone believe it or not. Let’s just make sure ALL working people are able to take care of themselves and their families without having to subsist on public assistance, which in the end, just hurts other workers. McDonald’s, of all places, can most certainly afford to pay a living wage to each and every employee they have.

        • Thank God Washington is a right to work state. Now instead of earning minimum wage they risk a job where ample replacements are readily available, You seem to think that all people are entitled to live at the expense of others Perhaps you should look at those managers a little closer- average salary in USD is $36k. Not great but almost 2x more than current minimum wage. Do your own research into the operating and profit margins at a McDonald’s franchise- it is not as great as you think. BTW- average age of a McDonald’s worker is 22 There are many other ways to invest and have greater yields A better solution than mandating what private business owners must pay, is to invest in economic opportunities and vocational training for low wage earners. Give them a stipend while learning a skill that can help them be self sufficient You seem to forget that $15 per hour not only applies to McDonald’s but all businesses. Do you know the effect will be on payroll and social security taxes? It is not just the increase in the hourly wage that needs to be considered Don’t you think there will be wage inflation for those wage earners already at $15 per hour- or do you think those people will be satisfied with staying at their current wage? Or does that matter that the private business owners will bear the brunt of this initiative. Many of the McDonald’s in Seattle are franchises that individual business owners have invested hundreds of thousands of private dollars and have worked their ass off for the opportunity I guarantee you they work more hours than any of their employees These owners are providing work opportunities for many unskilled laborers. How many small business owners will be forced to move or worse close? This is a bigger issue than profits at McDonald’s, Wal-mart and Target Perhaps you and others that support the $15 per hour minimum wage should tip the fast food workers or any other low wage earner with your money, It just amazes me how uninformed the public is on the scope of this issue.

  3. work at a fastfood restaurant & collect food stamps.
    or pay $2.00 for a burger and pay employees a living wage, stupid dollar menu ……
    i wont eat that crap anyway..not at any restaurant..they all get the same crap food from the same distributor’s i see the same truck’s deliver to many restaurants..
    give’s new meaning to the saying “eat sh*t & die” ………..

  4. There is a way to get paid more without just demanding an increased wage for your low-skilled work. Go back to school and get trained in some skill that will pay you more, or go out an look for a different job that would also do this. And please don’t tell me that these moves are not possible for some people. It’s called individual initiative, and lots of people get ahead this way.

  5. I generally try to sympathize with the working class…but McDonald’s, ugh. I hate hate hate that McD’s on First Hill. It’s a junkie magnet and a blight on an otherwise really nice neighborhood. They serve shitty food that no one should be eating. There’s always shady nonsense going on in its parking lot and sidewalks. One thing that makes Seattle so unique is its lack of fast food crapatoriums, and we’re healthier city for that. So yeah. I do want these workers to make a decent wage. But honestly, I’d be pleased as punch if that shithole were shut down and was replaced by a local business serving something that we actually need. Y’all can yell at me all you want, but you know I’m speaking the truth. The First Hill McDs is a canker sore on the Hill. But yeah, yeah…I get it. There’s a demand, so your sacred Free Market has dictated we must have that accursed clown upon our lovely Hill. Yeah, yeah, I understand basic economics. Sigh.

    • How is any of that the fault of the employees working there? You think they’d choose to work in that location if they had any other options? Are fast food employees supposed to perform policing functions too for their $9/hr?

      • Did I at any point blame the employees for the shortcomings of McDonald’s? Work on your reading comprehension skills, buddy. My point, once again, and please read more slowly: McDonald’s is an eyesore that serves crappy food. First Hill would be better off without it. As far as policing…well, if there weren’t a McDonald’s there in the first place, maybe there may be less of a need for policing in that godforsaken parking lot. But no, I don’t expect $9/hour cashiers to be law enforcement.

    • I love it – you’re one of those liberals who HATES HATES HATES McDonalds because their food is shit and NO ONE should be eating that! Yet in the very next breath you see a Dick’s and you’re all like – “Hey let’s go get two cheese, two fry, and a shake!”

      LOLOLOL

  6. I am concerned about one unintended consequences of the way head count is measures. Many laws impose requirements based on business size. This ranges from the Seattle living wage proposals to State commuter trip reduction requirements (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Transit/CTR/law.htm). I am concerned that:

    1) This is one more reason for employers to move employees to work for outside job shops and away from full time permanent employment?

    2) Moving workers to job shops is effective in evading regulations. For example, on the high end, Microsoft does not allow contractors on their Connector buses. Is this because contractors are not included in the commuter trip count against Microsoft?

    3) Many low wage folks who spend their days working in a large business, food service in company cafeterias, janitorial, security, etc. Why are they not included in the living wage head count?

    4) What other moral hazard are there for keeping our current practice of not including all on site workers in regulation?

    5) How much are we at risk of every McD’s having no employees on site, just perma temps working for a throwaway job shops with 499 employees each?

    6) How can we fix our laws and regulations to capture the full worker count in a business?

    • 2) Moving workers to job shops is effective in evading regulations. For example, on the high end, Microsoft does not allow contractors on their Connector buses. Is this because contractors are not included in the commuter trip count against Microsoft?

      It’s a cost thing and an insurance liability thing. Microsoft’s insurance will only cover their own employees riding on the connector. Contractor trips do count in MS’s commuter trip count. That’s why they give free Orca cards to all contractors, pay for vanpools, and support carpooling, for contractors too.

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  8. The people eating at first hill McD can least afford a 30% increase in the cost of a meal. The reason this market exists is too feed the poor. increasing the wage increases the costs. AND the worst thing is teens cannot get a starter job as too many adults are camping out on low wage, no skill jobs.

  9. I would support this wage hike for child care workers who have a heck of a lot of responsibility and some actual education, but no way for burger flippers.

  10. I’m for wages rising but what about those already making 15 an hour? Do they just accept they now make the miniuim wage? They educated themselves,got certificates, degrees….I think it’s awful that they should now make near the miniuim wage. My two cents. It’s not right.

  11. Ghost burner: you need to think about that a bit more…. $15 is still about $10 an hour under the median pay for Seattle. If you think you’re doing well on $15 now then you’re being conned by somebody.

    The lack of awareness in some of these comments is staggering. Sure lets all go out and earn $50 an hour. Sounds good to me.

    • “…$15 is still about $10 an hour under the median pay for Seattle.”

      So? Shouldn’t it be? Why shouldn’t unskilled labor earn less than the median pay? All jobs aren’t created equal, all skills aren’t valued equally nor compensated equally. There are many reasons for/against raising minimum wage, but comparing to the median wage as an excuse to raise it isn’t one. Besides, if you instate $15/hr minimum, the median wage goes up, right? Someone will always earn less than the median.

      • so…. I’m not an economist, so I may not have any idea what I’m talking about here, but it seems like in the long run this large a jump in the minimum wage would have negative affects on the Seattle…

        It seems to me that it would cause local businesses to have to increase their prices. The cost of goods and services would increase for everyone. There would be actually less buying power at all income levels, at least for local goods, forcing folks who before may have purchased from smaller businesses in their communities to national chains (which Seattle has resisted, so also often taking them out of their communities to find less expensive national stores), taking even more money out of the local market. Am I crazy?

        And for the record, I also agree with some of the others. Not every job should be a living wage… jobs like fast food server were never meant to raise a family on – they are starter jobs for teens, jobs to get student through schools, bridge jobs to get a person who’s never held one used to the discipline of going to work every day… they were never meant to be long term careers or pay enough to raise a family on.

      • There’s nothing saying lowered skilled jobs shouldn’t pay less…. I am saying if you’re happy about $15 and think that’s a skilled wage you should think again.

  12. Given how high average pay is in the area the short answer is this won’t really impact local prices all that much. Costs are baked in at higher levels than $15 an hour plus a lot of jobs that might impact costs like that already pay at rates above that.

    The real issue is that we’ve been allowing restaurants and bars to shift a non trivial part of the cost of hiring onto customers and pretending it’s not part of the price. I can’t remember when it happened but I remember 10-15% being a tip not seeing 25% in the recommendations section of a receipt.

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  14. Why stop at $15/hour? Why not $25? Or $45/hour?

    After all, these people work HARD. So hard. So very hard. Definitely harder than you work!

    Have you seen how much work it is to press a few buttons and swipe a debit card? So hard!

    Let’s just make it $50/hour and be done with it. Okay? These people have families!!!

  15. Pingback: Seattle finalizes plan for $15 minimum wage — eventually | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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