Fast food workers across the country rally for higher wages

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 4, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. – Thousands of fast food workers across the country have gone on strike this morning, demanding a $15 dollar minimum wage and the right to unionize, affecting major fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King in over 150 cities.

Here in the Bay Area, about 100 people gathered in Oakland to march in solidarity with other workers around the nation, because they say they do not make enough to support themselves and their families.

Workers carried banners and posters and chanted as they marched to nearby fast food restaurants.

They eventually made their way to a McDonald’s where they filled the entire restaurant while some people inside were still having their breakfast.

“And I’m not out here not just for me, but for all of you, the people behind us, and the people across the nation in different fast food restaurants,” said a demonstrator, who’s been a McDonald’s employee for five years. “Is it going to work? Is it going to stop? No, we aren’t going to stop and it will work.”

Filipino United Methodist Reverend Israel Alvaran encouraged the crowd by saying that they are doing the right thing today because fast food companies are unfairly compensating their workers.

“Fifteen dollars is not that much,” said Rev. Alvaran. “Even a voice on the job should be expected, but this is not true for fast food workers. They are low wage workers who are struggling for so long and now they are standing up together nationally. As a person of faith, I stand here because I believe in human dignity.”

Reverend Alvaran said that he is not surprised that other Filipino fast food workers were participating in this national day of action.

“We did not travel to this country to be oppressed. We’re here for a better life. We’re also human beings like our people back home struggling,” said Alvaran. “So we are here today standing with other Filipinos fighting for their rights. There cannot be nothing more Filipino than this.”

As part of this day of action, many workers across the country were arrested for civil disobedience.

Oakland council member Rebecca Kaplan applauded the worker’s courage to be arrested for what they believe in.

“It also shows how serious it is that fast food workers have been particularly mistreated and really deserve an end to wage theft, an end to the abuses, and are willing to go to the extra mile for that victory,” said Kaplan.

In a statement, McDonald’s said, “We believe that any minimum wage increase should be implemented over time so that the impact on owners and small and medium-sized businesses – like the ones who own and operate the majority of our restaurants – is manageable.

Should fast food workers make $15 per hour?

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  • Enigma
    5 September 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Rally all you want Idiots , then cry when Fast Food places replace humans for a Robot Machine. There’s hardly any Job anymore for human ,everything are being replace by robot or self serving machine. Even a Grocery store now has a self serving cashiers, it eliminated humans job . Theres so many manufacturing company now uses Robot . So , go ahead and rally , it will be your big lost.

  • Delia
    5 September 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Ha!HA! Ha! Yeah Fast food strikers meet your replacement robot.

    The company’s robot can “slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.” The robot is “more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.” That’s one burger every 10 seconds.

    The next generation of the device will eliminate all human workers.