Chicago Workers Stand Up To Corporations And Strike, Fight For $15 Per Hour Living Wage (VIDEO)

Chicago fast food and retail workers go on strike for $15 per hour minimum wage, April 24th, 2013.

Fight for $15. Screen captured image from Chicago’s WGN News report.

Nancy Loo from WGN News reports that hundreds of Chicago’s retail and fast food workers walked out today and are marching around the highly-trafficked Chicago Loop and Mag Mile to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage. The walk out began at 5:30 CT this morning at a McDonald’s in Union Station, and will conclude with a rally at 4:00 CT at St. James Cathedral. The current minimum wage in the state of Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Workers plan to picket 30 companies, including McDonald’s, Subway and Macy’s.

Loo states that “workers claim $8.25 per hour is just not enough to survive.”  Note how — with her typical mainstream media false equivalence in order to appear “objective” — Loo skeptically uses the word “claim.” HELLO? $8.25 per hour really ISN’T enough to survive. That’s not a “claim,” that’s a FACT. Especially with companies keeping employees on part-time schedules so they won’t have to pay for health insurance and other benefits. This comes as no surprise for the hundreds of thousands of Internet users who’ve seen the widely circulated rent affordability chart showing how many hours a minimum wage earner has to work in order to afford rent for a two bedroom apartment in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. There is not a single state in the entire country where a minimum wage worker can cover fair market rents by working a standard 40 hour week. Let alone food, clothing, bills, transportation, and medical care.

Rent affordability chart for all 50 states.

Image from the National Low Income Housing Coalition via The New York Times. (Click on the image to display a larger version)

McDonald’s employee Victor Guzman declared:

We are fighting because we have to pay for food, I have to pay for school, I have to pay my bills, so $8.25 is not enough.

And that doesn’t even account for rents, which have been steadily rising as the area’s job market improves.

Krystal Collins, a Macy’s Worker tells Andrea Germanos from CommonDreams.Org:

Workers across the country are tired. We’re tired of working hard, but not earning enough to support our families. After seeing the workers in New York [City] say they weren’t going to take it anymore, we were inspired to go on strike right here in Chicago.

Yet, despite these entirely reasonable complaints, some remain unsympathetic. A blindsided McDonald’s manager, Cynthia Delacruz, scrambles to cover her shift as she tells Loo:

I did not expect this, I was not forewarned about this, I had no idea any of this is going on.

You REALLY didn’t expect this? You just thought your “team” would keep on working for miserable wages forever? Then again, management probably longer attracts the brightest bulbs in the chandelier these days. Being a manager is no longer about handling logistics, building an efficient, productive team, and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and professionalism (if it ever was). It’s about enforcing your company’s immoral, inhumane and miserly policies at all costs, so you can squeeze your underlings dry.

John Brady says these workers should feel lucky to even have a job.

This guy thinks minimum wage workers are lucky to even have a job. Let’s send him a Turd ‘O’ Gram. Screen captured image from WGN TV News.

John Brady, described as an “office worker” grumps:

I think it’s rather bold for them to complain, when so many other people out there would just love to HAVE their jobs, let alone have a job and complain about it.

Jeez, when did this troglodyte drag himself and his hairy knuckles out of that cave he’s been living in, and how on earth did the news reporter find him? It seems like every time workers ask to be treated fairly and humanely, some conservative jerk comes out and says they shouldn’t complain because they’re supposedly lucky to even HAVE a crappy job. Sucking it up and dealing might make sense in times of scarcity, but we live in a time of plenty, and nobody who works or wants to work should be subsisting on scraps. If you’re working full-time (either at a single job or multiple jobs) and still can’t afford life’s basic necessities, then your company is stealing your labor, and you’re basically a slave. Since we abolished slavery in the U.S. in 1865 with the 13th Amendment, I’d say these folks have every right to complain.

The protest was organized by Fight for 15, a non-profit that states on their website:

We, Chicago fast food and retail workers, are striking to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Our employers are raking in profits while workers, mostly adults with families, don’t get paid enough to cover basic needs like food, rent, health care and transportation. We are willing to risk our jobs to stand up and say ENOUGH. And we need everyone who supports us to join us. It’s time to give every worker a chance to survive and thrive – and strengthen Chicago’s economy.

Here’s the video:


Elisabeth Parker Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterest boards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.