‘I can’t survive on $260 a week’: US retail and fast food workers strike | American News

OAmerican fast food and retail workers who have worked on the front lines of the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic continue a trend of strikes and protests over low wages, safety concerns and job losses. problems of sexual harassment at work.

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted renewed interest and support for the American labor movement and for low-wage workers who bear the brunt of the risks of Covid-19.

Trouble also arises because companies often have reported record profits and showered executives with pay raises, stock buybacks and bonuses, while workers received minimal pay increases. Workers at billion-dollar corporations, from Dollar General to McDonald’s, still average less than $15 an hour while often being forced to work in dangerous and grueling conditions.

On May 2, Dollar General employees at a store in Marion, North Carolina, left work on low wages.

Ashley Sierra has worked at Dollar General for two years and earns only $11 an hour, while receiving only part-time hours. A mother of three, she relies on her family members to barely make ends meet. “My weekly paycheck is no more than $200, $260 max. I have three kids, I can’t survive on $260 a week, it just doesn’t work. It needs to be increased to at least $15 per hour, the low is $15, because we work so hard for so little,” Sierra said.

General dollar reported a profit of $3.2 billion and their CEO was paid over $16.4 million in 2021, 986 times the median salary of company workers.

Sierra said the store was often understaffed and overloaded with items that blocked aisles, and she feared for her safety due to potential robberies and robberies as she and only one other co-worker worked the entire store. store.

Dollar General did not comment on the company’s low salaries. Regarding the walkout, a spokesperson said in an email: ‘We understand that a small number of employees chose to voice their personal opinions about the company earlier this week when leaving work. We respect the right of our employees to engage in protected activities and, as is our practice, we plan to listen, and do listen, to their feedback.

Workers at a McDonald’s in Los Angeles began a hit on Monday, May 2, in response to plumbing issues at the restaurant that recently worsened, releasing odors that made workers sick.

“It gives me headaches, stomach aches and nausea, and it happens to my colleagues too,” said Jasmina Alfaro, one of the McDonald’s strikers. “It became a horrible smell throughout the kitchen and the store and we noticed there was also water leaking with disgusting debris.”

She explained that for the past year there has been a foul odor emanating from the pipes near the drive-thru window, but has seriously worsened over the past week throughout the restaurant. Despite the smell, workers were still expected to conduct their business as usual. Alfaro said she missed days of work because she got sick from the smell and was not compensated for that time away from work.

Alfaro said the strike will continue until the issue is resolved, and the publish is an example of why fast food workers in California need the passage of local law AB 257, which would establish a statewide fast food board with worker representation to set wages and other industry standards, including security protections.

“It’s the only way to have a voice that represents us, so that we can be listened to and not ignored. We shouldn’t have to risk our health to earn a living,” Alfaro said.

A McDonald’s spokesperson did not comment on the strike but said in an email: “This restaurant recently underwent a health inspection and was found to be in good standing. We have already started fixing a plumbing problem that recently occurred in the restaurant and we hope it will be fixed shortly.

At a Jack in the Box store in Sacramento, California, workers continued three day strike end of April 2022 for faulty equipment and safety issues, and understaffing.

Striking Wendy’s workers demand respect in Weaverville, North Carolina. Photo: Myles Green

Workers at a Wendy’s in Weaverville, North Carolina went on strike from April 23 to May 1 for sexual harassment and abuse by the restaurant’s general manager of employees to whom senior management failed to respond.

Charity Bradley, a Wendy’s manager at the restaurant, claimed she was retaliated against for reporting complaints about general management to the company because she was removed from the schedule and locked from the app. the crew used to communicate with their colleagues. Bradley was reinstated when the strike ended and returned to work May 2.

Bradley said the strike began the next day after it was removed from the schedule and application.

“When we reported it to senior management, they practically blew it, they really did nothing. We called the company hotline several times and never received a response,” Bradley said.

She added, “Wendy’s might be a good place to work. They need to pull themselves together and start taking care of their people and start doing the right thing, not sweeping it under the rug.

The CEO of Tar Heel Capital Corp, which operates several Wendy’s franchises in North Carolina, said in a statement regarding the strike, “We are aware of the allegations made and take this very seriously, consistent with our policy to fully investigate. . investigation into the matter. As an organization, we strive to create a safe and comfortable work environment free from harassment. If, at the end of our investigation, we find that any of the charges are true, we will take prompt disciplinary action.

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