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St. Louis Fast Food Workers Join Global Strike to Demand Living Wage

fastfoodglobalstrike.jpg
Danny Wicentowski
St. Louis fast food workers protest in U. City.
Some people might be tired of hearing about them, but as long as they continue to get paid low wages, fast food workers say they'll keep protesting-- and on Thursday, their actions went global.

Spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union, the largest fast food worker strike ever took place on Thursday, with employees in major cities across the U.S., including St. Louis, walked out on the job to demand a pay raise to $15 an hour.

And according to Show-Me $15, the St. Louis group leading the fast food worker effort here, protests took place across the world, including countries such as Denmark, where fast food workers are unionized and make more than $15 an hour but nonetheless protested to show support for their less-paid American counterparts.

In St. Louis, Show-Me $15 rallies were held in several locations throughout the day, including a McDonald's on Florissant Avenue that had to shut down for breakfast because a majority of its scheduled workers planned to walk out.

Shannon Garth-Rhodes, spokesperson for Show-Me $15, tells Daily RFT store managers were aware of the strike and closed the 24-hour location at 3 a.m. in anticipation of the early morning walk-out. The drive-thru re-opened at 6 a.m. -- apparently staffed only with supervisors and managers -- but the restaurant doors were locked until after the protest.

See also: Show Me $15 Protests Chipotle, Says Worker Fired for Talking About Higher Wages

Garth-Rhodes adds that workers have received positive results from managers after protesting at that McDonald's, including getting raises and promotions to crew trainer positions.

Lashunda Moore, who works at a McDonald's in the Central West End, protested with others in front of a Chipotle on Delmar Boulevard in U. City. She says that the protests are continuing because basic demands are not being met.

"I'm here for all of my colleagues," she tells us. "We work, really, really hard and we don't make enough money to make ends meet."

fastfoodprotest.JPG
Danny Wicentowski

That's been pretty much the narrative of the fast food worker movement for the past few years. Among the least-paid jobs in America, many workers require and qualify for governmental assistance because their pay is so low, even if they work full-time. Proponents of a wage hike have argued that this is essentially a way of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare, with the American public supplementing corporations that are too cheap to pay its workers a living wage.

See also: St. Louis Fast Food Workers to Protest McDonald's Following "Stolen Wages" Lawsuits

Nonetheless, the movement has its share of critics, including those who balk at the notion that a fast food worker should make $15 an hour.

"I think those people probably have never worked in fast food before," Moore says. "This is hard work. We work hard and the companies make billions of dollars. Why can't we make a living wage?"

Other critics say that raising the wage to $15 an hour would raise prices and result in job losses. According to the New York Times, economists differ greatly on what the exact results would be, but price increases would likely be in the 10 to 20 percent range and job losses would hover around 5 percent.

But fast-food worker organizers say that other countries have proven unions and higher wages for fast food workers is a viable concept.

See also: St. Louis Fast-Food Workers Protest for Better Pay, Right to Organize

"In St. Louis, we had an increasing number of workers protesting," says Martin Rafanan, community director for Show Me $15. "But more than that, it was significant for the strike actions coordinated across the globe: 150 cities, 30 countries, it just shows that this movement is expanding and it's really fun to have workers who have already achieved forming unions and a living wage in solidarity with workers who haven't achieved it."

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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223 comments
Roy Jacobs
Roy Jacobs

I say that all restaurants shut down and go out of business. Then no one has a job

Matt Dockins
Matt Dockins

and the order's will be correct and the food will probably taste better.

Matt Dockins
Matt Dockins

The only thing I have to say on this is you'll notice it's only the uneducated with no grasp of basic economic principals who want to raise the minimum wage, especially for fast food workers. It's short sighted and irresponsible. But you know what? Go ahead, up your rate that extra 7.00 an hour. Everyone else who is an experienced worker that works at a job that you have to have some skill and expertise to work at will up their own rates to compensate for your short sightedness and stupidity (because you don't realize these types of actions are the basis of inflation) and within 3 months you'll be over-extended on your expenses and just as bad off if not worse off than you are now. Meanwhile we'll be just fine, because we can, when pressed, make those demands and get the higher wage, because an idiot off the street can't walk in and do OUR jobs.

Rosi Hernandez Barron
Rosi Hernandez Barron

When you can give correct change back when given an extra penny or two without relying on the damn machine and without being thrown for a loop because counting back change is a lost art.....

Ken Deck
Ken Deck

Fast food shops on government facilities (military bases etc.) are closing due to Obama dictating high minimum wage on govt property. Bottom line one employee gets more per hour and two get unemployed. OR the shop just closes since they cannot make a profit AND THEY'RE ALL OUT OF WORK!!!

Megan Nicole
Megan Nicole

Levi how can you call people greedy while demanding so much stuff?

David Hays
David Hays

Thats why McDonalds is buying touchscreen ordering kiosk to eliminate the employees mis taking the orders

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

I do not know you but I can tell by what you say and how you think that you are a pretty simple minded person, but I do not wanna speak for your sophistication. I will just let you do that. The more you talk the easier it will be see just how smart you are.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

It did not take a lot of skill to work at GM ,or Chrysler but they fought for better wages and it help give us a strong middle class. Walmart and Mcdonalds are some of the largest employers in US and world and pay their employees bullshit wage is America. Strange how they can pay $10/hr up in Canada but can not here, how American is that? Plus they get free school and health care. Here we want people to get paid shit, pay way to much for an education and way too much for healthcare. Most of the debt Americans are in is because of medical bills or student loans. That does not happen in other countries. We pay far more than any other country for healthcare and get worse results. Here in America we are more worried our baseball team then we are about improving our education system.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

if you go there enough to complain about them getting your order wrong maybe they arent the problem.

Levi Lancaster
Levi Lancaster

How about everyone stop being so greedy, give a great wage with benefits, allow all americans free school, make a law that all companies operating in the USA must not send jobs overseas and inform all americans about who politicians are and where they stand on all major topics. Also, give us free healthcare and not health insurance! Life could be simple if greedy people didn't run things and American's kept themselves well informed and voted on intelligent things and people. Yeah, ignorance is bliss unless you're not ignorant but not influential enough to change it.

Alex Blattel
Alex Blattel

While some people here are correct that there are bigger issues with our country like corporations moving to mexico to make more money for cheaper goods and getting rid of jobs in the states, they are wrong on the fact that fast food workers should be making more then others in the food industry. To work at McDonald's no longer takes skill. They dont actually flip hamburgers anymore, they dont even have to use memory evrything is on a timer and pre cooked. Its not meant to be a career. Never was meant to be a career. While some people who work there are down on thier luck and had bad stuff happen ( for those its a shame), the rest are the ones who dropped out of highschool never learned a craft or trade and are just plain to lazy to do anything that involves actual work. We shouldnt be telling these people that the deserve more then those who have education and trade skills and still dont make 15 an hr. If these people want to get of pell grants and food stamps then the unfortunate truth is they do need to stop working at a job desgined for highschoolers and college students to work and not try to make it a career.

Lynda Suetterlin Guion
Lynda Suetterlin Guion

Raising minimum wage raises the costs of everything that you purchase. If it didn't, businesses would go bankrupt trying to pay the salaries of their employees. Raising minimum wage drives inflation. The people in the minimum wage jobs will only be able to afford more until inflation catches up (maybe 6 months at most). In the mean time, the higher salaries will likely never quite reach where they were in relation to inflation. Thus, even the people with the better jobs will struggle a little more than they previously had to. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to raise a family on. They can help you pay for schooling though before you have a family so you can get a better job to raise your family with.

Lynda Suetterlin Guion
Lynda Suetterlin Guion

Raising minimum wage raises the costs of everything that you purchase. If it didn't, businesses would go bankrupt trying to pay the salaries of their employees. Raising minimum wage drives inflation. The people in the minimum wage jobs will only be able to afford more until inflation catches up (maybe 6 months at most). In the man time, the higher salaries will likely never quite reach where they were in relation to inflation. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to raise a family on. They can help you pay for schooling though before you have a family so you can get a better job to raise your family with.

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

Russell would like to slap people while calling others names and preaching class warfare....but we should all think he's the enlightened one in this argument... Got it? Fast food is entry level You don't stay there and raise a family You better yourself and move on They accepted the job at this pay rate No one lies and says you'll make 40k some day flipping burgers when they interview Anyone with income that low can get Pell grants and attend classes to better themselves for almost free at a community college Sorry The woe is me crap doesn't fly here

Russell Lindell
Russell Lindell

Sean repuyan ( just another idiot degrading others about a job" moron prob thinks he is above everyone cause he makes 11.79 an hour

Sean Repuyan
Sean Repuyan

Worthless sacks of sh*t. I guess it would be hard to get a real job with a criminal background and inability to pass a drug test.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Ya our education system here sucks, our health care system sucks, we pay our workers like it is 1970 even though productivity has gone up. Way to go USA seems like only thing we are good at anymore is putting people in prison and blowing shit up. Freest country in world bur has the most people in prison.

Russell Lindell
Russell Lindell

Seems like the only person in here that has a clue is Ryan Harris what he says makes sense, far from Ben Mansfield that is blundering on about education n so forth but has more typos than an idiot like me.... People bitch about fast food workers getting an hourly wage that can actually pay their rent n they butch about the cost but when companies like walmart have execs making 100million in a year ( no lies on that ) but then set up donation boxes for fellow employees in breakrooms for The holidays is out right theft, thats that go cry that paying those workers is gonna make ur Duracell batteries cost 5.45 a 6 pack of batteries which would b up from 5.25 but go to your local grocer n those batteries are cheaper there ( for saint louis people, schnucks dierburgs) n Walmart is supposed to b cheap only thing its fucking cheap on is paying the people that keep the boat afloat!!!! First posts I read was this idiot Jum ruland saying "don't plan raising a family on ten bucks an hour" what a fucking jack off!!! I'd love to slap this guy not for his stupidity but for using this post to boost his self esteem n making rude comments to make his dumb ass feel like he is successfull!! No one plans on raising a family on fast food wages, but bad stuff happens to good people lay offs or corporate theft n so forth, I say pay the workers n thats just the start... First unoay the workers then u force these larger than life companies to use real good that don't make kids "big bones" n good that gives cancer ( like gmo soy bean burgers) but people just wanna blame fat people for being fat not blame macdonalds or dominos then people just wanna blame poor people for being poor but not the company that took all their daily energyn left em with 8 dollars.... I say pay the workers n not just the owner I say give fast good workers some credit if your not gonna at least give them an hourly wage or health insurance for all their work

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

I'm hearing all these stories and people on here claiming all these highly educated people are working at fast food jobs Except my cousin and uncle have worked fast food management for decades...and still do It's just not the truth... Plus people on those wages qualify for benefits totally thousands of dollars Wait until they hit that next tax bracket and lose their earned income credit... food stamps.... hud.... It will be a different tune then

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

Coming soon to a fast food location near you Touch screen ordering No salary or benefits required

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Plus having a low min wage does hold back the pay of everyone. Except of course the ceos. So if you think your underpaid a low min wage isnt helping you.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

And i didnt know education was free here... Have you any idea what it cost to go to school here. Check out how ITT scammed low income people into bullshit loans. So people who are trying hard to better themselves and getting an education are getting screwed by the place that is suppose to be helping them. No one cares about that either thats not a crime.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

If you really wanna support and help America start buying things made in the USA. You might have to pay a little more and take little time to check where things are made. When is last time you even looked at where something was made? Americans a greedy and we want everything now now now for cheap cheap cheap

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Why doesnt anyone care when US companies close shop here in the US and movie it to Mexico or China. No one cares about that. In the 1950s GM was top employer now it is Walmart. If your answer is go get a different job or go get an education it is a simple minded way of looking at a more complex social issue.

Ken Summers
Ken Summers

I'm sorry but if you want to make more maybe not try it at McDonalds

Pia Martin
Pia Martin

big difference between minimum and living wage.

Victoria Garner
Victoria Garner

They should DEFINITELY move to Denmark! They can make so much more there.

Victoria Garner
Victoria Garner

because, Justin, if they make $15 an hour then a hell of a lot of people who are way more deserving need a big raise too. It's not just about Happy Meals...the world is a bigger place than your little world you live in.

Jim Ruland
Jim Ruland

Don't plan on raising a family on $10.10 an hour you fucking shitbags.

Jim Ruland
Jim Ruland

People with masters degrees will fight you for those $10.10 hr jobs if they raise the min wage. Grow a brain you fucking losers.

Jim Ruland
Jim Ruland

Losers. Get an education or a government job. Pathetic.

Friendsofflava Magiccity
Friendsofflava Magiccity

If they start paying $15 p/h a lot of the current workers will lose their jobs. Management will start getting a better quality of worker.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Plus we dont have free capitalism here, we have socialism for the rich. We give billions to corporations that we dont give to small businesses, that is not capitalism.

Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Hey Shannon it is Marxist not Marksist can see you have read a lot.

Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris

God for bid Shannon you would lose your job and have to take one of those positions also.

Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris

Actually Shannon you misread everything I said. I neither commented here nor there about the actual money factor. What I simply said was don't judge people you don't know based on second hand information. My original statement was don't call someone uneducated or unskilled simply because they are working in the fast food industry.

Larry Mann
Larry Mann

Is it just me, or are they protesting and demanding more money at the dirtiest fast food places in the area with the worst customer service?

Shannon Walker
Shannon Walker

Sabrina Harris so you think that jobs like fast food works should try to force there employer's go pay them more then there job is worth . That sounds like something a marksist communist would say . Free capitalism deal with and earn your way to the top like everyone else instead of gimme gimme

Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris

Shannon Walker your an idiot. Key word in your statement is "want". Life can't always be based around "wants". An educated person will do whatever job they have to if that means satisfying their families basic needs. Education doesn't mean an instant opportunity. In fact, thousands of educated college graduates are fighting over the same jobs everyday. The economy and job market are what they are. If an educated person has to take a job in what some would call a less then desirable position to provide for their families, I think we shouldn't judge them. Like I will not judge you for your ignorance.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Yes because everything is all or nothing. Dumbfuck.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

And cunts like you would celebrate because people get paid less, what the fuck is wrong with people like you? Does the thought of people less off than yourself arouse you fucks??

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Your ugly fat antisocial ass would be McLovin that wouldn't you shitbag?

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Too bad Rush Limbaugh doesn't teach you how too spell out those big buzzwords when he is telling you what to be pissed about. Ignorant twat.

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