The following post was written by Worker Rights Committee member Sean Young.
On Wednesday, May 20th over 40 members of ONE Northside and Jane Adams Senior Caucus loaded onto a bus to join roughly 3000 people rallying to demand fair wages from McDonald’s. This was an event coordinated nationally by the Fight for $15 to highlight the poor wages earned by fast food workers by focusing attention on arguably the fast food industry’s most iconic brands, McDonald’s, during its shareholders meeting which was scheduled for the following day, May 21st. I joined the ONE Northside crew that day because I know how impossible it is to survive on the current minimum wage and I also see how poor wages overall hurt my neighbors and people in my community. What I experienced was uplifting, encouraging, and energizing.
We arrived to find an ever-growing sea of people from Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and places from all over the Midwest. Leading the way was a group of McDonalds’ workers in their company uniforms. I couldn’t help but think about just how much people risk by standing up and making such demands, especially at the corporate headquarters of their employers. But the crowd continued to swell around and behind them. Our march stretched along 22nd St. in Oak Brook, occupying 2 lanes and blocking traffic to chants of “If We Don’t Get It, Shut It down!” When we finally arrived at the McDonald’s office plaza the rally continued with musical performances and speeches from McDonald’s workers, union leaders, and leaders of the faith community, each demanding that the company begin to share its huge profits with the workers who make it all possible.
This was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with workers who are being unjustly treated by being paid so poorly. But, this was also an opportunity to stand and walk with a movement that is demanding that WORK be respected because workers have dignity. That is something I want for myself and everyone else in my community, minimum wage worker or otherwise.
Check out our Facebook page for more photos from this action!