A union-backed labor organization put on a nationwide protest of fast food workers to demand at $15 minimum wage Thursday.
The protest was organized by Fight for 15, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They advocate for higher wages and better working conditions for fast food workers. This recent protest is the latest of several they have organized in the last year.
“Fast food workers across the country are standing up this week and saying: We deserve more. Our bosses pay us poverty pages, while we work hard every day to make them millions,” Fight for 15 declared in a statement.
“From McDonald’s and Walmart parking lots to the streets of Ferguson and New York, nationwide, communities are rising up–through actions, strikes and protests–crying out because they believe that a better path forward is possible,” SEIU International President, Mary Kay Henry, said in a statement.
Henry concluded, “The Fight for $15 movement is growing as more Americans living on the brink decide to stick together to fight for better pay and an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.”
Skeptics counter that these are union-organized protests with little organic support from fast food workers.
“The only reason these protests are big is because of union backing,” Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Whether it is the fast food protest or Walmart.”
“Grassroots movements like these don’t have national conferences,” Saltsman added. “All this stuff is very expensive.” He claimed that Berlinrosen Public Affairs, a PR firm used by the SEIU and other unions, has paid millions in order to promote these activities.
SEIU organizer Kendall Fells explained the strategy at a union panel meeting. “We try to have a reasonable conversation with them,” Fells said. “If that doesn’t work, then we’ll bring 150 people and shut their store down, day after day after day.”
Saltsman called this “mob tactics.”
Fells also explained how unions arrived at the $15 figure: “That’s where people decided that $15 made sense, I would say it was a pretty scientific process, $10 was too low and $20 was too high, so we landed at 15.”
“Given how harmful a proposal like this is, I was shocked at how casually he said it,” Saltsman said. “$15 could be the difference between keeping their doors open or closing down.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation could not reach Fight for 15 or the SEIU for further comment.
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