Minnesotans to support fast-food workers’ strike for better wages

Rev. Grant Stevensen and SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters speak to activists outside a Wendy's in Minneapolis.

Rev. Grant Stevensen and SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters joined a demonstration outside Wendy’s in Minneapolis in October.

Building on a string of public actions last week calling out poverty-wage employers across the state, Minnesota activists will stand in solidarity tomorrow with fast-food workers planning one-day strikes in more than 100 cities nationwide.

Organizers today laid out plans for solidarity demonstrations tomorrow outside two McDonald’s restaurants around the metro area:

• In Northeast Minneapolis, activists will demonstrate at noon outside the McDonald’s at 1440 Stinston Blvd. [Click here to view the Facebook event page.]

• In Cambridge, 45 miles north of the Twin Cities, activists will demonstrate from 11:30 a.m. to noon outside the McDonald’s at 11 Garfield St. South. [Click here to download the event flier.]

Fast-food workers across the country are joining together to fight for better wages, and their campaign has picked up steam over the last year. Workers staged short-term strikes in a handful of cities in August, demanding $15 per hour and the freedom to form a union without retaliation from their employers.

Protests tomorrow are expected in 100 cities, and solidarity demonstrations are expected in 100 more, including Cambridge and Minneapolis.

Labor and faith groups backing the local demonstrations are part of a coalition pushing Minnesota lawmakers to pass a bill this winter that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015. That effort gained momentum last week, thanks to a series of actions around the metro highlighting the impact poverty wages have on working families and their communities.

Just as fast-food workers intend to do tomorrow, workers at Walmart in Brooklyn Center and workers who clean area Target stores staged short-term strikes to protest low wages. On Black Friday, about 1,000 people marched on Target and Walmart and called for a minimum-wage hike.

Poverty wages at fast-food restaurants come at a particularly high cost to taxpayers, according to the findings of a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, released in October.

The study found 52 percent of front-line workers in the fast-food industry rely on public assistance – like food stamps and Medicaid – to support themselves or their families, costing taxpayers nearly $7 billion per year.

Rep. Keith Ellison released a statement via Minnesotans for a Fair Economy in support of the striking workers nationally, and he applauded the Minnesota community for standing up in support of them.

“In the richest country in the world, no one working full-time should be living in poverty,” Ellison said. “The movement against poverty wages gets stronger each time a working American bravely stands up. I stand with the workers walking off the job today because too many people working at fast-food restaurants are barely able to put food on their own tables.”


  1. Dirty Dingus says:

    I wonder if Rev. Grant Stevensen and SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters will be outside protesting today? I’m thinking no.

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