Sunday, September 1, 2013

Atlanta Fast Food Strikes Play-by-Play.

At 5:30 am on Thursday 8/29/13 a crowd began to gather at the corner of Moreland Ave and Glenwood Ave. in Atlanta, GA. It was unclear leading up to the event how many would make it out before the sun rose...  As the organized group swelled to 80+ it became clear that the first fast food strikes to hit the Southern US via Atlanta, GA had hit a nerve.  With over 65,000 fast food workers in Atlanta making a median wage of $8.59/hour the level of engagement was no surprise.

At about 6:00 am the crowd including striking fast food workers from Subway, Arby's, McDonald's, TJ's Sandwiches, Great Wraps and Church's Chicken marched to the McDonald's on Moreland Ave.

A strike line was set outside of the store, and striking workers shared why they were going on strike.  Pictured to the left is Tina who works at Church's chicken and her daughter.

Tina was asked by a reporter why she was out on strike today and she replied:

"I'm here to stand up for the ones who might be afraid to stand up.  I'm here to fight for 15$ and the right to form a union.  I've been with the company for three years and with the money that I help make for Church's... I feel as if I need a little more money to provide for my daughter."

The crowd gathered and entered the McDonald's in order to deliver a letter that included the demands to raise the wage to 15$.  The letter was not targeted at the franchise owner, but the corporate headquarters of McDonalds.

Following the letter delivery we re-grouped and headed to the Church's Chicken on Moreland Ave.  There were three striking workers from that location including Fred pictured below:

Fred has been working at this Church's Chicken location for 15 years and makes $8.25/hour.  He works 35 hours per week but would like to work more hours.

Fred led a letter delegation into the store to share their demands with the store manager.

Following the letter delegation, Fred participated in a phone interview with the station 1310am, a Latino oriented community radio station in Georgia.  He shared his story, which was then translated into Spanish.  Fred's experience resonated with the listeners given that many Latinos in Georgia are facing similar starvation wages.

Later in the day at 4:30 pm, another strike line and rally was held near the Five Points MARTA station.  The rally was very spirited, with many attending who had seen media coverage from earlier in the day.  The square is home to a Burger King, Popeye's and McDonald's to name a few.  We marched from Five Points out onto Mitchell St. and began to chant... "Low pay is not ok!"  and "Can't survive.. on Seven Twenty Five!"  As the energy began to build, seemingly out of nowhere... Congressman John Lewis calmly strode onto the scene:

Congressman John Lewis shared these humble, powerful and loving words with the fast food workers and their supporters.  There is a moment at 1:45 in the video posted below where Congressman John Lewis hugged Pamela, a striking worker from Great Wraps. An embrace that perhaps captures more than words ever will, why we must raise the wage.


Below is a list of media coverage for the Atlanta Fast Food Worker Strikes.

Atlanta Fast Food Strike Coverage
The fast-food worker strike and the bigger picture
Fast Food Workers Mount Walkout Across The U.S.
August 29, 2013. Atlanta Journal Constitution. (Also published in Access Atlanta.)
Fast Food Workers' Strike Back On
August 28, 2013. Atlanta Journal Constitution. (Also published in Access Atlanta.)

Atlanta fast food workers planning walk out
Fast-Food Workers Stage Job Action in 60 Cities, Demand Living Wage
Local, national fast food workers strike, ask for raise
August 29, 2013. NBC: 11Alive, Holly Pennebaker.
Fast-food walkout: McDonald’s employees push for higher wages
Fast-food workers walkout across U.S. for $15 per hour
Wave of fast food strikes hits 60 cities
U.S. fast-food workers protest, demand a 'living wage'
Wage War: The largest fast-food strike to date - Video on

August 30, 2013. Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Kyle Wingfield
August 29, 2013. Associated Press

August 29, 2013. Atlanta Business Chronicle, Carla Caldwell, Morning Edition Editor
August 30, 2013. Creative Loafing, Joeff Davis.
August 29, 2013. Athens Herald. AP
August 30, 2013. Atlanta Black Star, Nick Chiles

August 29, 2013. CBS Atlanta, Mandi Milligan.
August 29, 2013. ABC: WSB-TV, Steve Gehlbach.
August 29, 2013. My FOX Atlanta, Carolyn Ryan. All News 106.7

August 29, 2013. Georgia Public Broadcasting

Atlanta Coverage in Other Cities
August 29, 2013. NBC: WSAV Savannah, GA:

August 29, 2013. CBS WSPA, Spartanburg, SC.

August 29, 2013. New Observer, Raleigh, NC.

Atlanta Coverage in National Outlets
August 29, 2013. CNN Money, Alanna Petroff and James O'Toole (features video of Atlanta Great Wraps worker Pamela).
(Also published in: yahoo news
August 29, 2013. AP, Candice Choi, AP Food Industry Writer

August 29, 2013. Bill
(Also published in the Courier Journal)
August 29, 2013. All in with Chris Hayes, Video on

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