Fast-food workers to strike in Greenville - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Fast-food workers strike in Greenville

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Fast-food workers in Greenville held their first-ever strike Thursday.

Workers in 150 cities across the United States and 33 additional countries are protesting, demanding $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. 

Rubye Harris has never worked in the fast-food industry, but joined protesters because she felt they were being treated unfairly.

"This could be my brother, this could be my sister, this could be niece growing up, this could be my nephews when they got older," Harris said. "They may have to take these steps to work in fast food. And if they have to take these steps to work at fast food, we want them to have a livable wage."
Community supporters, clergy and elected officials are expected to join fast-food workers in the strike.

Fast-food strikes started in New York City in 2012 when 200 fast-food workers left their jobs demanding $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.

In 2014 fast-food workers in three states filed class-action lawsuits against McDonald’s, claiming widespread and systematic wage theft. 

Scott DeFife, Executive VP of Policy and Government Affairs of the National Restaurant Association, released a statement to 9 On Your Side. The full statement is below:

“Restaurants are the cornerstones of our nation’s small business community. Over ninety percent of restaurants are independent or franchisee owned. From local diners, to city steakhouses to America’s favorite chains, restaurants are creating jobs and providing real pathways to success.

“A dramatic increase to labor costs like the one proposed by SEIU-backed Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, is not the comprehensive solution to income inequality- it will only hurt business owners’ ability to create entry level jobs. These union-backed protests are nothing more than big labor’s attempt to push their own agenda while attacking an industry that provides opportunity to millions of Americans.

“Instead of demonizing an industry that opens doors for workers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels, the focus should be on finding better solutions to lift individuals out of poverty. Pro-growth policies and policies that focus on increased access to education and job training opportunities are far more effective ways of providing real, meaningful impact on workers’ ability to earn and advance.”

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