Retail and Fast Food Worker Strikes Continue to Increase Nationally

CC BY 2.0 / Flickr / Mike Mozart / A Junction City McDonald’s is receiving attention after a Herington police officer said he received a coffee with foul language written on it.
A Junction City McDonald’s is receiving attention after a Herington police officer said he received a coffee with foul language written on it. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.05.2022
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More workers in the retail and fast food industries are striking across the nation. This is following a trend of strikes and walkouts that started during the pandemic as workers demand higher pay, improved safety and protection from sexual harassment.
Dollar General, Mcdonald's, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s are experiencing walkouts and strikes in recent months as Starbucks and Amazon workers have made major gains in unionizing stores and warehouses.
While fast food and retail wages have gone up slightly in the past year, PYMNTS.com says retail wages have increased 4.2%, but that has been more than offset by inflation that hit 8.3% year over year for the month of April.
Meanwhile, corporations have noted record profits, giving their executives massive bonuses and rewarding their stockholders with stock buybacks.
Dollar General, for example, paid its CEO $16.4 million while pocketing $3.2 billion in profits. According to payscale.com, the average Dollar General employee makes $10.26 an hour.
After two years with the company, Ashley Sierra, who makes $11 an hour, told The Guardian that she cannot make ends meet with her pay and hours.
“My weekly paycheck is no more than $200, $260 at the max. I have three children, I cannot survive on $260 a week, it’s just not working. It needs to get upped to at least $15 an hour, the bottom is $15, because we work so hard for so little,” she said.
On May 2, workers at a Dollar General in Marion, North Carolina walked off the job, demanding higher pay.
Also on May 2, workers at a Mcdonald's in Los Angeles began striking over plumbing issues that caused a foul odor to permeate the entire store. Employees complained about the smell causing headaches and nausea and of leaking water with “disgusting debris” in it.
Mcdonald's did not respond to a request by The Guardian for comment on the strike but did note that the store had recently passed a health inspection.
Mcdonald's is not the only fast food establishment with workers striking. Employees at a Jack in the Box in Sacramento went on strike for three days, complaining about faulty equipment and safety concerns. And employees at a Wendy’s walked off the job after a manager claimed she was retaliated against for reporting complaints that the general manager was sexually harassing employees. The manager who reported the harassment, Charity Bradley, says she was taken off the schedule and locked out of the internal employee communications app. The strike in support of Bradley continued from April 23 to May 1. She was reinstated on May 2.
At the onset of the pandemic, companies talked up their employees, calling them heroes for serving in the front of essential businesses. Corporate pocketed billions, now their workers are demanding they be treated not as heroes, but as what they are: essential.
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