Fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Workers unanimously voted on the date for the new strike during a Nov. 25 conference call, held shortly before the second anniversary of the movement’s first strike.
The first of the recent fast food strikes took place on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. Two hundred workers from various fast food restaurants around the city participated in that strike, making it the largest work stoppage to ever hit the fast food industry. Since then, the size of the movement has ballooned several times over: With the backing of the powerful service sector labor union SEIU, the campaign has come to include thousands of workers in the U.S.
One of the campaign’s main targets, the McDonald’s Corporation, has long maintained that labor protests against the company are not actually strikes in any meaningful sense.
“These are not ‘strikes,’ but are organized rallies for which demonstrators are transported to various locations, and are often paid for their participation,” said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. “At McDonald’s we respect everyone’s right to peacefully protest.”
The National Worker Organizing committee, a nationwide steering group of 26 fast food workers around the country, approved the Dec. 4 strike date before it was proposed to the rest of the workers. Workers from all 150 cities involved in the campaign were then invited to vote on the date over a Nov. 25 conference call.
The proposal for a strike date was put forth by Burger King and Pizza Hut employee Terrence Wise, a leader in the Kansas City, Missouri branch of the committee. He exhorted workers across the country to recruit more co-workers and make the Dec. 4 the date of the biggest strike yet.