Fast-food workers step up fair pay protests

More than 1,300 workers gather in suburban Chicago to discuss the future of a campaign that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years

Fast-food workers from across the US have voted to escalate their efforts for $15-an-hour pay and union membership by using nonviolent civil disobedience, comparing their campaign to the civil rights movement.

More than 1,300 workers gathered on Saturday in suburban Chicago to discuss the future of a campaign that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years. Wearing T-shirts that said “Fight for $15” and “We Are Worth More,” the workers said they would win if they stuck together.

“People are just fed up,” said Cindy Enriquez, 20.

The $8.25 (£4.85) an hour she makes at McDonald’s is not enough to go to college and become a police officer and barely enough to pay her rent, Ms Enriquez said.

The Service Employees International Union has been providing support to the fast-food protests. They began in late 2012 in New York City and have included daylong strikes and a demonstration outside this year’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting, where more than 130 protesters were arrested after stepping onto company property.

Saturday’s convention included sessions on civil disobedience and leadership training. Kendall Fells, a director for the campaign and a representative of SEIU, said when and what actions happen next will be up to workers in each city.

AP

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