Fast food workers strike in Milwaukee and across the country
MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In 100 cities across the country and in Milwaukee, fast food workers on Thursday, December 5th walked off the job in what is believed to be the industry's largest-ever strike. It was a protest for higher pay, and a movement to increase the minimum wage.
Thursday's strike was part of a growing effort by fast food industry workers that seeks to focus attention on workers' low wages.
"Ain't no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don't stop, say what?" Lennise Vickers said.
44-year-old Vickers is a mother, and a long-time McDonald's worker.
"I was never making enough to make ends meet. I wasn't able to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I was living paycheck to not making it to the next paycheck," Vickers said.
Vickers made minimum wage, and had to take a second job.
21-year-old Devonte Yates is a McDonald's employee who went on strike on Thursday.
"Today, me as well as a lot of my fellow co-workers from around the city -- we went on strike. Some of us didn't show up to work. Some of us went to work and when they showed up, we just walked off the job. You know, to protest for our rights and form a union," Yates said.
Yates says a chain that boasts of billions served, isn't serving its own employees.
"They don't serve us at all. If you think about it, we serve them. We come to work every day and punch their clock. It's like we're working for nothing," Yates said.
The group marched across the North Street Bridge from McDonald's to Wendy's, asking for wages to be bumped from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
"This is the way we have to let these companies know that we're fed up. I've been working for six years, and I'm just now being able to move up and try to be a manager," Marielle Crowley said.
The crowd flooded into North Street, stopping traffic. Those who man the drive through weren't letting drivers through.
"We were taking over the streets. We're the people. We have the power and we want to be heard. We want to be seen. You can't ignore us," Vickers said.
Officials with the National Restaurant Association have said this one-day strike is a publicity stunt engineered by big labor.
They say that increasing pay to $15 an hour would mean workers would lose their jobs and prices could increase for customers.