Fast-Food Workers Strike In 5th Major City

DeAngelo Coleman joins fast-food workers strikeAs a cook for Pizza Hut in Milwaukee, DeAngelo Coleman would never want to jeopardize his job. "I love the work I do," says the 28-year-old. But there he was, risking his $8-an-hour job on the picket line Wednesday as he protested along with some 200 other Milwaukee fast-food workers. The goal: To raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. "I feel like these millionaires [who run the chain] are stealing," he says.

Milwaukee on Wednesday became the fifth major U.S. city to have a fast-food workers' strike, and Coleman (pictured above, holding a megaphone) said that he was inspired to join it because of the Chicago walkout in April. "Seeing people come together really hit me," says Coleman, who attended the Chicago rally as a guest of Wisconsin Jobs Now, a nonprofit organization campaigning to increase workers' wages. Hundreds of fast-food workers also have participated in one-day strikes in Detroit and St. Louis, after protests began in New York in November.

Coleman currently has no benefits at his job and is trying to support four children, with another expected to arrive in August. (His oldest two live with his first wife in Milwaukee, and he lives with his pregnant fiancee and her two children from a prior relationship.) "Eight dollars an hour would be a struggle if I had just one child on the way," he says, but with four, it's nearly impossible.

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Choosing Milwaukee as the site of the latest fast-food protests was particularly striking, given the anti-union climate there. Wisconsin passed a law that stripped most public workers of collective bargaining rights. While it was overturned by a judge in September, it's still in effect for workers employed by the state government in Madison.

So far, no arrests have been reported in the Wisconsin strike. But at least one worker elsewhere reportedly was stymied when she tried to go back to work. According to The Nation, a Wendy's franchise in New York City initially blocked a striker from returning to her job, but community activists occupied and picketed that Wendy's until its management relented.

Coleman's employer, Yum Brands Inc., which owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, recently was ranked by Bloomberg News as having the highest income-inequality among fast food brands. Bloomberg analyzed the pay gaps between workers and CEOs in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index of companies and reported that Yum Brands CEO David Novak earns an annual salary of $20.4 million, while workers at his company make an average of just $24,913 a year.

Yum Brands did not respond to request for comment from AOL Jobs. Other fast food chains, such as Burger King and McDonald's, also have declined comment on the protests.


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Filed under: Employment News
Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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Brett12345

YOU WORK AT A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT, WHY SHOULD YOU BE PAID MORE THAN PEOPLE THAT HAVE A REAL JOB!!!!

June 21 2013 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
oujoou

8 bucks an hour making some of the yummiest pizza in any town? THAT is an embarrassment. SHAME on those pizza hut suits. :(

May 21 2013 at 10:50 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bpante

Go ahead strike. Thear are a couple million ILLEGALS out thear willing to do that job for $4.00

May 21 2013 at 7:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
zapdog4

Ever been to a Sheetz? You order your food on a touch screen. It isnt as if this is a technical job that requires much intelligence or even, as we have all seen, dedication to doing a good job. If you had studied a little hared, and partied a little less, maybe ou could get a job where you didnt have to ask "Would you like fries with that?"

May 21 2013 at 12:53 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
John Perry

I was working at McDonalds after School when I was 16 yo.
Most of the workers were teens like my self.
Fast food jobs are ENTRY LEVEL JOBS for people to learn how to work.
Entry level jobs are not worth $15.00 an hour.

Jobs pay what they are worth not what a person needs.

It's time to start a class action suit against the labor organizers behind these strikes.

May 20 2013 at 11:11 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
lnemesis19

Love all dumd a$$es who complain about workers asking for a raise. An $8 per hour raise is nothing compared to the Billions these chains make. God forbid a handful of COO's give a percentage of their bonus to make this happen.One kid, 5 kids, or no kids at all, everyone deserves to get paid a decent living wage for what they do. Maybe these workers should complain more to health departments about the conditions of these workplaces. Lets see how bananas you go when Starbucks workers strike and you cant get your $8 Grande Caffine fix.

May 20 2013 at 10:42 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
ysiambn

Perhaps if Mr. Coleman kept his dick in his pants, $8 might not be such an issue......

May 20 2013 at 8:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
dickn2000b

"Fast Food Strike Rises in New City" New City? WHAT NEW CITY? It's Milwaukee you Fluffpost Flakes.

The other point worthy of note is this: "Coleman currently has no benefits at his job and is trying to support four children, with another expected to arrive in August. (His oldest two live with his first wife in Milwaukee, and he lives with his pregnant fiancee and her two children from a prior relationship.) "Eight dollars an hour would be a struggle if I had just one child on the way," he says, but with four, it's nearly impossible."

Ignorant, uneducated, no marketable skills but still able to reproduce like flies. AND this individual goes on strike? Fire him and every other striker. There is no shortage of unskilled workers. Let's see how well he can support his brood with $0.00/hour salary.

May 20 2013 at 7:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dickn2000b's comment
fin4978262

Coal miners are mostly unskilled, uneducated laborers with no marketing skills who *gasp* have children. They strike. Do you have a beef with them?

May 20 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmyd

There are a LOT of jobs that pay a LOT better, that I am sure he qualifies for. Minimum wage jobs were not designed to keep a family going. They are jobs for teenagers who are just entering the work force. There is a LARGE shortage of Truck Drivers in the Country who average $800 to $900 a week. THAT is money to raise a family on. Raise minimum wage to $15.00 and most fast food companies will just shut down or cut staff in half, and making it SLOW FOOD. ADD in the Franchise factor which most liberals do NOT get and you put a lot of people out of business with a $15.00 an hour minimum, and hurt the economy more.
Corporations get a flat fee per pizza. Most stores like Pizza Hut, PJ's and Domino's are owned by middle class hard working Americans who pay a franchise fee and per pizza percentages, the corporations still get theirs, the Franchisee gets hurt only.... and they can not pay $15.00 an hour and stay in business.

May 20 2013 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jgtch

Close up all the fast food restaurants and then these idiots with 5 kids will be where they want to be instead of working for $8.00 per hour. At home, making kids 6,7 and 8, so as to get more gubment cheese.

May 20 2013 at 3:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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