Tribune Photo/Joey Hedges

May 22, 2021

Taking part in a nationwide day of action, fast food workers in Stand Up KC went on strike Wednesday, May 19.

Area workers held a rally at the Wendy’s at 903 NW Chipman Rd. in Lee’s Summit as well as a car parade and rally at the McDonald’s at 3255 Main St. in Kansas City.

Striking fast food workers in Lee’s Summit were joined by Lee’s Summit City Councilwoman Hillary Shields and allies from faith, labor, and community organizations across the metro.

The Kansas City rally included speakers such as Missouri Rep. Emily Weber (D-24th Dist.), workers from Stand Up KC, and faith and labor leaders.

Standing with workers in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, Flint, St Louis, Houston, Milwaukee and other cities, the area’s low-wage workers gathered together on the day before McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting to demand the company pay every worker a wage of at least $15 an hour.

The burger giant recently announced that it netted nearly $5 billion in profits in 2020 and paid out nearly $4 billion in dividends to its shareholders, but has refused to give $15 to the workers who made them that money.

Late last week, the company announced plans to raise wages at its corporate-owned stores — a plan that falls short of the $15 and a union demand and leaves out 95% of McDonald’s workers, who work in franchisee stores.

The action also comes as McDonald’s has sounded the alarm about a nationwide shortage of individuals willing to work in fast-food amid a lingering pandemic and longstanding issues in the industry, from wage theft to sexual harassment to racial discrimination.

Contributing to workers’ woes locally, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced last week he would opt the state out of increased federal unemployment insurance payments targeting workers affected by the pandemic, while at the same time refusing to enact a voter-approved Medicaid expansion that would have benefited low-wage earners throughout the state.

As McDonald’s scrambles to figure out how to attract potential workers, cooks and cashiers with Stand Up KC and the Fight for $15 and a Union are offering a simple solution: Pay us at least $15 an hour! Give us health care and a seat at the table!