On Thursday, two hundred workers at McDonalds, Domino’s and other fastfood restaurants in New York have staged a walkout in protest of low wages and to demand union recognition. The protest is part of reportedly the biggest effort to organise fastfood workers in the US, backed by community and civil rights groups, religious leaders and services union SEIU.
Labour relations expert Ruth Milkman told the New York Times that there have been few efforts to organise fastfood workers, because the challenge is daunting:
“These jobs have extremely high turnover, so by the time you get around to organizing folks, they’re not on the job anymore,” she said. Nonetheless, she said the new effort might gain traction because it is taking place in New York, a city with deep union roots where many workers are sympathetic to unions.
The campaign has enlisted 40 organisers to talk to workers. Several mayoral candidates – hoping for union support in the election – voiced support for the workers. The campaign has filed six complaints against employers who had threatened to fire workers or who had otherwise intimidated workers because they support the campaign.