McDonald's workers and their supporters rallied in Chicago Tuesday morning, urging the fast food giant to stop alleged wage theft practices.
The protest outside of the McDonald’s located at 2005 W. Chicago Ave. was part of a nationwide series of actions to bring attention to the alleged illegal theft of workers’ pay at McDonald's. The protests in 33 cities, which also included Rockford, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix and others, follow the filing of seven class action lawsuits against McDonald's and some of the fast food giant's franchisees in three states. The suits were brought on behalf of McDonald's workers in California, Michigan and New York and accuse the company of various "unlawful pay practices," such as forcing employees to work off the clock and not paying them proper overtime. Read all about the suits here.
“We fully support the workers in New York, California, and Michigan one-hundred percent in their efforts," said Akilarose Thompson, a Chicago McDonald’s employee who took part in the Tuesday protest. "They’re standing up to McDonald’s, and they’re filing lawsuits, holding them accountable and making them pay back what is owed to them. McDonald’s doesn’t care about its workers. We have lousy pay, little to no respect on the job, and zero benefits. On top of all of these working conditions, McDonald’s is stealing from us. They made $5.6 billion dollars in 2013 alone. It makes no sense for them to steal from us. We will not stand for it.”
Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) stood in solidarity with the workers and their supporters, including faith leaders and members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago.
“We need to get our economy moving again, and fast-food workers are leading the way," the alderman said. "They’ve gone on strike, fighting for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, fueling a national debate on income inequality and creating momentum to raise wages. Wage theft makes it even harder for low-wage workers to keep up with rent and bills and support their families. These violations are a direct result of the way McDonald’s and other fast-food companies operate their business. They expect a certain level of service and profits and the only way they can make that happen is if there isn’t enough money on the table to pay workers for every hour they work.”