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As $15 Nears in New York, St. Louis, Fast-Food Workers Call on Miami to Follow Suit 6/5/2015

June 5, 2015
Contact: Jackie de Carvalho, Jackie.deCarvalho@seiufl.org561-287-2879
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‘Our fight for $15 is now unstoppable’

As $15 Nears in New York, St. Louis, Fast-Food Workers Call on Miami to Follow Suit

Miami Cooks and Cashiers Rally for $15, Union Rights Ahead of National Fast-Food Worker Convention

Miami, FL – Cooks and cashiers rallied outside a local McDonald’s Friday to declare support for fast-food workers in New York and St. Louis who are on the cusp of winning $15 an hour, and to issue their own demand for $15 and union rights here in Miami Holding signs that read, “We Are Unstoppable” and chanting “New York, St. Louis, This Is How We Do It,” workers declared that winning $15 an hour in cities like New York and St. Louis would catalyze similar victories for $15 nationwide.

“When fast-food workers win $15 in New York and St. Louis, it will be a win for fast-food workers everywhere,” said Westley Williams, who works at McDonald's in Miramar and is paid $8.05 an hour. “They used to say we had no shot, but fast-food workers across the country are proving that our fight for $15 is now unstoppable, and we’re going to stand together until we win $15 and union rights here in Miami too.”

The rally – one of many led by fast-food workers in cities across the country -- comes as a Wage Board appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds its first public hearing to consider a significant bump in pay for fast-food workers. And it also comes as lawmakers in St. Louis introduce a bill to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15.

Following the rally, fast-food workers from South Florida are headed to join 1,300 cooks and cashiers from across the country at a convention in Detroit to develop strategies to build on the growing momentum of the Fight for 15.

“We’ve got the wind at our backs, and now it’s time to take this movement to the next level,” said Marianne Raney, who works at McDonald's in Miramar and is paid $8.05 an hour. “The whole country is now talking about the need for companies like McDonald’s to pay a decent wage and treat workers with respect. Until we win $15 and union rights, we will only continue to grow.”

Once considered a long shot, $15 is now a reality in cities like Seattle and San Francisco, days away in Los Angeles, and the minimum pay at leading companies like Facebook and Aetna. Noting how striking fast-food workers have changed the politics of the country, the New York Times declared that “$15 could become the new, de facto $7.25.”

The convention in Detroit comes just weeks after thousands of workers descended on McDonald’s HQ in Oak Brook, Ill., to hold the largest protest to ever hit the company’s annual shareholder meeting, and it follows shortly after striking fast-food workers led a 236-city walkout on April 15th, which the Guardian called “the largest protest by low-wage workers in U.S. history.”

SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.