Policy: Labor

Fast-food strikes set for Thursday

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Analysis,SEIU,Minimum Wage

Stock up on your cheeseburgers now: Organizers behind a series of strikes in the fast food industry over the last few months are promising another round Thursday, claiming there will be events in 100 cities, including Boston; Chicago; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla.

The strikes are being organized by the nonprofit group Fast Food Forward, which last led a round of strikes in late August. The group is calling for a base $15 an hour wage at restaurants like McDonald's, Wendy's and KFC, many of which only pay minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association disputed that these would be grassroots protests though, telling the Associated Press the "campaign [is] engineered by national labor groups," and that previous ones "have fallen well short of their purported numbers."

Big Labor is heavily involved. In a July press release, Fast Food Forward said that "Service Employees International Union is providing financial and technical support to the campaigns and is lending staff to help train organizers on the ground in each of the cities."

In October, I wrote about Big Labor's behind-the-scenes coordination of the fast food strikes.

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