Higher QSR wage protests spread to Chicago

April 24, 2013

Hundreds of workers walked off their jobs today in Chicago's first-ever combined restaurant and retail strike. According to a news release, employees at McDonald's, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and other chains participated in the protest, demanding higher wages and the right to form a union.

The strike was facilitated by The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago campaign, Fight for 15. It estimates that there are 275,000 quick-service and retail employees in the city making Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25. Many are forced to rely on public assistance.

In Chicago, jobs that are considered low-wage now make up about one-third of all jobs, the release said. The median age of quick-service workers is over 28 years old, and women in those jobs have a median age of over 32 years.

"It would take me about 777 years to earn as much as the McDonald's CEO made last year," said Tyree Johnson, a McDonald's worker. "I'm not asking for all that, just for enough to pay my train fare without having to worry about taking food off the table."

Today's protest follows a similar strike on Black Friday by Walmart employees, and earlier this month by QSR employees in New York City.

The Workers Organizing Committee' Fight for 15 campaign has a goal of a $15 hourly wage and the right to form a union without interference.

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