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

WWorkers in America’s fast food and retail sectors who have worked on the front lines through the perils of the Covid-19 pandemic are continuing a trend of strikes, protests over low wages, safety concerns and sexual harassment issues at work.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to renewed interest and support for the American labor movement and low-wage workers who have borne the brunt of the risks of Covid-19.

The turmoil also comes as companies often report record profits and flood executives with pay increases, share buybacks and bonuses, while workers receive minimal pay increases. Workers in multi-billion dollar companies from Dollar General to McDonald’s still make an average of less than $15 an hour while often forced to work in unsafe and stressful conditions.

On May 2, Dollar General workers at a convenience store in Marion, North Carolina, quit their jobs due to low wages.

Ashley Sierra has worked for Dollar General for two years and makes just $11 an hour, while only receiving part-time hours. She is a mother of three and relies on her family members to barely make ends meet. “My weekly salary is no more than $200, $260 max. I have three kids, I can’t live on $260 a week, it doesn’t work. It should be brought up to at least $15 an hour, and the bottom is 15,” Sierra said. dollars, because we work hard for so little.”

Dollar General reported a profit of $3.2 billion and its CEO received more than $16.4 million in 2021, 986 times the median wage for the company’s workers.

Sierra said the store was often understaffed and overcrowded with items clogging aisles, and that she feared for her safety from potential thefts and thefts when she and a co-worker were working the entire store.

Dollar General did not comment on the company’s low wages. Regarding the strike, a company spokesperson said in an email: “We understand that a small number of employees chose to express their personal opinions about the company earlier this week by leaving the job. We respect our employees’ right to engage in protected activities and as is As in our practice, we plan to listen and listen to their feedback.”

Workers at McDonald’s in Los Angeles started a He hits On Monday, May 2, in response to the restaurant’s plumbing issues that have worsened recently, odors are emitting that has made workers sick.

“It gives me headaches, stomach pains, nausea, and it also happens to my co-workers,” said Jasmina Alfaro, one of the striking workers at the McDonald’s site. “It got smelly all over the kitchen and pantry, and we noticed there was also water leaking from the disgusting debris.”

She explained that for the past year, there was a foul smell coming from the pipes near the window of the car, but it had gotten so bad over the past week throughout the entire restaurant. Despite the stench, workers are still expected to go about their business as usual. Alvaro said she missed working days because she got sick from the smell and was not compensated for the time she missed from work.

Alvaro said the strike will continue until the problem is resolved, and the case It is an example of why California fast food workers need Proposed Local Ordinance AB 257 to pass, which would create a statewide fast food board with worker representation to set wages and other industry standards, including safety protections.

“This is the only way we will have a voice that represents us, so that we can be heard and not be ignored. We shouldn’t have to risk our health to earn a living,” Alvaro said.

A McDonald’s spokesperson would not comment on the strike but claimed in an email: “This restaurant recently underwent a health check and was found to be in good shape. We have already started fixing the plumbing issue that recently surfaced in the restaurant and we expect it to be resolved soon.”

At the Jack in the Box site in Sacramento, California, workers went on strike for three days at the end of April 2022 due to equipment malfunctions, safety concerns and understaffing.

Wendy’s striking workers demand respect in Weaverville, North Carolina. Photo: Miles Green

Workers at Wendy’s in Weaverville, North Carolina, went on strike from April 23 to May 1 over sexual harassment and sexual assault by the restaurant’s general manager toward employees who were not dealt with by upper management.

Charity Bradley, Wendy’s manager at the restaurant, claimed she was retaliated for reporting complaints to the company about general management, being taken off schedule and blocked from the crew app used to communicate with co-workers. Bradley was reinstated at the end of the strike and returned to work on May 2.

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

“When we reported it to upper management, they pretty much screwed it up, and they didn’t actually do anything. We called the company’s hotline several times and never got a response,” Bradley said.

She added, “Wendy’s could be a good place to work. They need to get it all together and start taking care of their people and start doing the right thing, not throwing it under the rug.”

“We are aware of the allegations being made and take this matter seriously, in accordance with our policy of thoroughly investigating the The matter. As an organization, we strive to create a safe and comfortable work environment free from harassment. If, at the conclusion of our investigation, we find that any of the accusations are true, we will take prompt disciplinary action.”

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