Close to 1,000 McDonald’s and other fast food workers and supporters held a noisy march and blocked traffic in Detroit Nov. 12. They called for an end to sexual harassment, $15 an hour pay and “unions for all.” The action was part of an international “McStrike” of low-wage workers in selected cities in Brazil, Chile, Canada, Belgium, France, England, Germany and the U.S.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib spoke at the Detroit action, saying, “Corporate greed is a disease in this country and you are going to stop it. When you walk out they lose money. … If there is a place to start this movement it is the city of Detroit.” (fightfor15.org)
Jenna Ries, a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit over sexual harassment at McDonald’s in Lansing, also spoke. Her store manager repeatedly made sexist comments and eventually sexually assaulted her. “Sexual harassment is unacceptable” was the message on a large lead banner in Spanish.
In London and around England, multiple McDonald’s restaurants were struck to demand “£15 an hour, guaranteed hours and a union.” Workers there threatened more strikes if conditions and pay do not improve.
The Starbucks Coffee Union in Chile carried a banner reading, “I am a student, also a worker.” In Germany the chant was “fast food workers united.” Belgian workers expressed solidarity with workers in Detroit.
In all the actions workers were loud and determined, telling McDonald’s bosses what they want and that “if we don’t get it, shut it down!”