Fast food workers striking all over the world

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WASHINGTON - Today, fast food workers around the world are engaging in a one-day strike calling for higher wages and the right to form a union.  The events are taking place on May 15 as a symbol of the $15 wage that is being asked for by workers in the U.S.

Workers are walking out and striking today in more than 150 cities around the United States and in 30 other countries, according to Josh Eidelson. Thousands of workers are expected to participate and many cities will be seeing their first fast food strikes. 

The strikes are part of a growing trend where workers are refusing to sit by while their increasing productivity leads to greater corporate profits but that has little effect on stagnant or declining wages and benefits:

"We've gone global," said Ashley Cathey, a McDonald's worker from Memphis, Tenn., who makes $7.75 an hour after six years on the job. "Our fight has inspired workers around the world to come together."

Many of the international actions are focused on McDonald's, a worldwide leader in low-wage jobs: "Activists plan to hold a teach-in outside McDonald's head office in Auckland, New Zealand; to stage flash mobs at five McDonald's locations in the Philippines; and to shut down a major McDonald's during lunchtime in Belgium."  The events around the world are being led by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations.:

"Working families everywhere are inspired by the spirit and the courage of fast food workers who are striking today in over 150 cities," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "Every worker deserves fair wages and the right to form a union without retaliation because no one who works full time should struggle to support their family. That's why the 'Fight for Fifteen' movement is growing bigger and protests are happening across America and six different continents. The message is clear: corporations should pay their employees fair wages and Congress should act so no one gets left behind. Only then will we have an economy that works for all working people."

You can follow the updates on the strikes on Facebook and Twitter and by following the hashtag #FastFoodGlobal.

The above story is reposted from the AFL-CIO Now blog.

Photo: Fight for 15 demonstration. Steve Rhodes/Flickr (CC)

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