Fast Food Workers Strike In Second Major City

Chicago fast-food and retail workers walk out in strike.
Chicago fast-food and retail workers walk out in strike.

Ever since she began working as a cashier for the Protein Bar restaurant chain in downtown Chicago a year and a half ago, says Amie Crawford, she's felt mistreated. The 56-year-old has yet to be made a full-time staffer, as she was told she would be. And despite 30 years of employment history, including working as an interior designer in North Carolina's Outer Banks, she must ask permission to use the bathroom. She makes $8.75 an hour and has no benefits.

Crawford joined several hundred other fast-food and other low-wage workers Wednesday in a one-day walkout from their jobs. The workers, who are calling for a $15 minimum wage in their Fight for $15 campaign, are being organized by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a non-union community organization. Crawford, who is single and is a leader of organization, credits recent activism among fast-food workers in New York as the inspiration for the day of action.

And in speaking about the New York protest from earlier this month, which turned out to be the largest strike ever of fast food workers, Crawford says the the protest in Gotham provided a shot in the arm for the Chicago workers. "If they can do it, why can't we do it. We felt empowered by that," she said.