RALEIGH — The Rev. William Barber marched down the sidewalk of Tarboro Street in Raleigh with a cane in his right hand, bellowing “Worker’s rights!” at about 100 fast food workers from across the state who chanted back, “We can’t survive off $7.25!” under the sweltering afternoon sun.
“It’s time-out for a colonel that’s dead to be getting more respect than the living, it’s time-out for a clown like Ronald (McDonald) to get more respect than workers that sell the hamburgers,” Barber, president of N.C. NAACP, said in his keynote speech. “It’s time-out for a phony king named Burger to be treated better than workers that go work every day.”
The strike is a part of a nationwide movement called “Low Pay is Not OK,” in which thousands of fast food workers agreed to go on strike Thursday in a bid to raise their hourly wage to $15, obtain workers’ benefits and unionize the fast food industry. Workers in about 60reporter’s notes cities across the nation participated.
National fast food strikes
The fight to increase wages for fast food workers has been going on for months.
- Fast food workers first banded together in New York City with a strike of 200 workers in November.
- The movement spread throughout the country, as workers continued to strike in the spring and summer.
- On Thursday, thousands of workers went on strike in about 60 cities.
In North Carolina, the strikers organized meetings in Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
Many fast food workers are living in poverty because they receive low wages despite their hard work, Barber said.