In the weeks following strikes by fast food employees in New York City and Chicago, similar protests have also cropped up in Detroit, St. Louis and Milwaukee. In all cases, workers are demanding pay increases to $15 per hour and the right to unionize.
In Milwaukee, strikers have formed the Milwaukee Workers Organizing Committee and are calling their campaign “Raise Up MKE.” As with demonstrations in other cities, strikes in Milwaukee have been backed by various unions and trade groups, including the Service Employees International Union.
Similar to Chicago, strikers include not only workers from major fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell, but also retail employees of companies like TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree.
St. Louis’ hastily-planned strike only expected 50 to 70 participants on May 9, but over 100 fast-food employees ended up joining the walkout. The St. Louis campaign, called “STL Can’t Survive On $7.35,” has been organized by the St. Louis Organizing Committee.
The largest fast-food strike of the year, including more than 400 workers, took place in Detroit on May 10. One McDonald’s outlet brought in replacement workers, only to see the substitutes walk off the job as well.
Detroit’s movement, called “D15,” anticipates further action throughout the summer.