Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hundreds of Chicago fast-food, retail workers strike today (VIDEO)

Today Chicago became the second city to experience a massive one-day strike by low-wage fast-food and retail workers who want better pay and a union.

Color Lines reports:
The walk-out is part of an accelerating trend of labor actions by low-wage, non-union workers at some of the country’s largest corporate chains stores and restaurants. 
The Fight for 15 campaign, named for its target wage hike, has been organizing workers for months to pull off today’s strike. Organizers expect employees of downtown Chicago chains including McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Sears and Victoria’s Secret to join the action. 
The Chicago strike comes on the heels the recent Black Friday Walmart worker actions and several similar walk-outs by New York City fast food workers in November and again earlier this month. Fast food and retail workers are often paid the minimum wage—$8.25 in Illinois—and many say their employers refuse to schedule them for enough hours. 
“At the end of the day, it feels like I’ve done all of this to help everyone else, to help the store, help the managers, help the customers, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is looking out for me.” Macy’s employee Krystal Maxie-Collins told Josh Eidelson of Salon, who broke news of the strike last night. Eidelson writes:
Maxie-Collins, a mother of four who works part-time for the state minimum wage of $8.25 plus a commission, said she had initially been hesitant about the strike because of the risk of retaliation. But “what we are fighting for, the reason for doing it, kind of overrode the fear of doing it.” “Usually the things that are worth it,” she added, “you have to sacrifice for.”
The Chicago Tribune reported,
Charde Nabors, 21, said she's fighting for better pay and more opportunities for workers like her. 
Nabors works at Sears for $9 an hour to support her two children, ages 2 and 5 months. Nabors says she only works about 20 hours a week, though she has asked for a full-time position. 
She has to supplement her income with food stamps, but she's struggling to pay $650 a month for the apartment she moved into after staying with family and living in a hotel. 
And does this sound familiar?
"They keep adding more and more tasks and giving us less and less," added Krista Reese, 22, also an employee at Nordstrom Rack. Reese, who has worked at the store on Chicago Avenue since July, said the store used to have as many as 12 workers close every night and now they're down to four. She also talked about a pay cut. 
Reese says her fellow workers are trying to organize a union there to continue the fight for higher pay and added staff.
Stay strong, brothers and sisters.