Low-Wage Workers Organize Protest in Chicago

Fast food workers in Chicago planned an organized demonstration on April 24, according to Salon. Workers in New York organized a similar protest against low wages on April 4. In Chicago, as many as 500 workers from more than 10 major fast food chains planned to walk out on the job in the middle of shifts, beginning at 5:30 am. Last week, we covered a similar demonstration by Walmart employees upset about the scheduling process.

These workers are entitled to organized demonstrations, whether they are protesting for wage increases, equality or benefits. Nevertheless, are these demonstrations effective? Do the giant retailers and chain restaurants really care if low wage employees are picketing? The corporations claim that they care for their workers a great deal.

“We value and respect all the employees who work at McDonald’s restaurants,” said a McDonalds spokesperson. “[We offer] competitive wages, flexible schedules and quality, affordable benefits.”

Many of the employees at these chains do not feel the same way—they feel forced to work these low-wage, low-skill jobs out of necessity rather than choice, and many feel taken advantage of.

“I just feel like during my time there, I’ve been exploited, I’ve been overlooked, and I haven’t gotten what I deserved,” McDonald’s employee Robert Wilson told reporters from NBC 5 in Chicago.

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Tip of the week: According to the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, approximately 275,000 workers in Chicago at retail and fast food chains are paid the minimum wage of $8.25/hour.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys