My Reflection on the McDonald’s Strike

30-fight-15.w700.h700William “Big Bill” Haywood, founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, once said “The capitalist has no heart, but harpoon him in the pocketbook and you will draw blood.”

In our everyday discourse, the word “McDonald’s” has become synonymous with low-paying, unrewarding work.  Those who work at McDonald’s are viewed as lazy people, doing easy work. But how much truth does that statement hold?  The people who work in the fast food industry are disproportionately female and non-white. Many of them can’t support themselves and their families on their current wages, so they must take on multiple jobs.  They do the fundamental work of actually preparing and serving food and collecting money for the company. If every McDonald’s worker put their hands in their pockets and refused to work, it could shut down the whole operation.  Could the same be said of McDonald’s shareholders, or its CEO? In truth, the workers at McDonald’s are far more important than we give them credit for, and it should come as no surprise that the workers decided to speak up and demand that they be paid what they’re worth.

The McDonald’s one-day-strike on May 23rd, 2019 demonstrated the power that these workers have when they stand united.  At the march and rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I was incredibly moved by the stories and speeches I heard from McDonald’s employees, who felt undervalued and underpaid.  Their demands were clear and unequivocal: $15 and a union. When I looked upon the crowd, I didn’t see lazy people. I saw courage, determination, and righteous anger at a company which exploited their anger.  I was more than proud to march with the workers in Fort Lauderdale, and I was also proud to pass out Fight for $15 flyers at my local McDonald’s.

– Alex Franzblau

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