CHICAGOFast food workers will go on strike on April 1st and join the Chicago Teachers Union's 'Day of Action' to Fight for Funding. Workers will demand $15 & union rights from fast food corporations and demand that the $368 million that taxpayers pay to subsidize fast food corporations be used for schools and community programs.
"$368 million in Illinois alone, is spent by taxpayers like me every year, to support public assistance programs. Those dollars can instead be used to fund our schools and other community resources that we so desperately need," said Solo Littlejohn, a fast food worker, who relies on government assistance programs.
In Illinois, 51% of fast food workers have to rely on public assistance programs because of the low-wages of multi-billion dollar corporations like McDonald's. To get richer and richer, big corporations manipulate the rules to avoid paying fair wages and their fair share of taxes, forcing working people and taxpayers to foot the bill. As a result, workers and communities are being starved of the money they need for their future, and are left with impossible choices.
"I'm going on strike for the first time on April 1st because McDonald's needs to pay their fair share to the economy," said Tatiana De La Cruz, a McDonald's worker and student. "At $10 an hour, I shouldn't be on public assistance. There shouldn't be such a thing as 'the working poor'." De La Cruz, a student at Wright College, struggles with her cost of tuition and paying for the basic things she and her mother need.
Governor Bruce Rauner continues to ignore feasible solutions to secure the state's budget. Therefore, a critical loss in statewide funding remains for many social services, state universities and other vital community resources. The majority of fast food workers in Chicago are Black and Latina women whose families are the ones being impacted by closed schools and social programs, like cuts to childcare.
"When workers get paid higher wages and have union rights, it benefits everyone," says Littlejohn. "The fight for 15 has always been a fight for funding and that's why we're standing with the Chicago Teachers Union and the entire community on April 1st."
Founded in November of 2012, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago is a union of fast food and retail workers. The workers' Fight for 15 campaign seeks a $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. The Fight for 15 campaign is supported by an ever-expanding coalition of community, labor and faith-based groups including: Action Now; Albany Park Neighborhood Council; Arise Chicago; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council; Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Chicago Jobs with Justice; Chicago Teachers Union; Grassroots Collaborative; Illinois Hunger Coalition; Jane Addams Senior Caucus; ONE Northside; Southside Together Organizing for Power ( STOP ); SEIU Local 1; SEIU Local 73; SEIU Healthcare Illinois; Indiana, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation; United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Western Region; and Workers United.