Actress Susan Sarandon and prominent progressive lawmakers were among those who voiced support Wednesday for McDonald’s workers who staged strikes in cities across the country in an attempt to raise hourly wages.
Employees staged walkouts in 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, to protest McDonald’s compensation practices. The protests, organized by militant group Fight for $ 15, were due to take place as McDonald’s officials called the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.
“McDonald’s workers are on strike. Don’t cross the picket lines !!! Sarandon wrote on Twitter. The actress has a long history of advocating for workers’ rights at McDonald’s and other businesses.
Fight For $ 15 has been pushing for higher wages for McDonald’s employees since its inception in 2012. The protests came days after McDonald’s announced plans to raise wages at company-owned stores .
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The company said the pay increases will affect around 36,500 employees and roll out over the next few months. Beginner crew members will earn between $ 11 and $ 17 per hour, while team leaders will start earning at least $ 15 to $ 20 per hour.
Fight For $ 15 decried the move as a “press stunt” that would apply to just 5% of its locations in the United States.
“The reality is that McDonald’s is giving billions to its shareholders while ignoring workers who deserve $ 15,” the group said in a press release.
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The walkouts have drawn support from several high-profile progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez each practically attended a Fight for $ 15 event in solidarity with the workers.
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“I’m here to tell McDonald’s directly that you’re not going to do this as a public relations effort and you’re not going to cheat us,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
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“In Denmark, the average McDonald’s worker earns $ 22 an hour, receives 6 weeks of paid vacation, 1 year of paid family leave, life insurance and a pension,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. ” Yes. If McDonald’s workers in Denmark can have a decent standard of living, we can do it in the US #McDonaldsStrike ”