“More Hours Now!” Chicago Fast Food Workers Launch Campaign to Work More

McDonald’s Workers Deliver Petition and Hold Protest to Demand More Hours of Work

CHICAGO–Chicago McDonald’s workers, fast food workers, Jane Adams Senior Caucus members, and fellow members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago convened at 10:00 A.M. today at a McDonald’s in 2005 W. Chicago Ave. to launch the “More Hours Now!” campaign. Most Chicago fast food workers receive 10-25 hours of work per week, forcing workers to get a 2nd or 3rd job, rely on government assistance, and ultimately live in poverty.

Employees from McDonald’s, sporting “More Hours Now!” stickers, delivered a petition signed by 30 workers from that store. The petition states, “We the undersigned members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago are committed to making McDonalds a thriving business. Because of our dedicated service to the company, we are demanding full time hours, fair pay, and more respect for all workers at the store.“ The workers then held a protest, spoke out, and held signs reading “MORE HOURS = LESS POVERTY” and “MORE HOURS = MORE DIAPERS.”

“I’ve been working for this McDonald’s for almost five years and I can’t even get decent hours,” said Jessica Davis, an employee of the store. “It’s very hard to be a mother of two young daughters and have to live on poverty wages and an unfair scheduling system…I need more hours to survive.”

On February 19, 2014 hundreds of fast-food workers overwhelmingly voted to add “More Hours” as one of the main demands of Chicago’s Fight for 15 campaign. As part of the campaign, workers will hold a series of protests and actions at different fast-food locations around the city demanding more hours. Fast-food companies have been giving workers few hours with no benefits and low pay for years.

For most fast food workers, working more hours simply means a step out of poverty. Most Chicago fast food workers receive 10-25 hours of work per week, forcing workers to get a 2nd or 3rd job, rely on government assistance, and ultimately live in poverty. This also why the workers are fighting for the right to have a union without retaliation, with the protection and strength of a union, the workers would be able to fight for more hours, would not get their hours cut randomly, and have a predictable schedule.

“McDonald’s and other fast food companies used to be reputable companies, but now not only do they pay their workers poverty wages but they also can’t give them decent hours!” said Linda Diaz, a Jane Adams Senior Caucus member present at the protest. “This is outrageous and I’m here to stand with these workers and demand more hours so they can sustain their families.”

Fast food is a $200 billion a year industry and retail is a $4.7 trillion industry, yet many service workers across the country earn minimum wage or just above it and are forced to rely on public assistance programs to provide for their families and get healthcare for their children. Nationally, the median wage for cooks, cashiers and crew at fast-food restaurants is just $8.94 an hour.

In the Chicago metro area there are 275,000 low wage fast food and retail workers. An adult with one child needs to make $20.86 an hour working full time in the Chicago area just to afford the basics, according to a model developed by a professor at MIT.

Deivid Rojas 312-219-0008 deivid@fightfor15.org

Founded in November of 2012, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago is a union of fast food and retail workers. The workers’ Fight for 15 campaign seeks a $15 an hour wage, more work hours, and the right to form a union without retaliation. The Fight for 15 campaign is supported by an ever-expanding coalition of community, labor and faith-based groups including: Action Now; Albany Park Neighborhood Council; Arise Chicago; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council; Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Chicago Jobs with Justice; Chicago Teachers Union; Grassroots Collaborative; Illinois Hunger Coalition; Jane Addams Senior Caucus; Lakeview Action Coalition; Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP); SEIU Local 1; SEIU Local 73; SEIU Healthcare Illinois; Indiana, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation; United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Western Region; and Workers United.

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