July 29 Strike

Mass Meeting

July 30 Strike

August 29 Strike

Public Cost Meeting

December 5 Strike

 

 

July 29 Strike

 

For the first time in Kansas City’s history, fast food workers went on strike. The two-day strike began when workers at the Burger King on 47th and Troost joined hundreds of supporters and allies in front of the restaurant. There, former Kansas City, MO mayor and current Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II, condemned low wages and called for change. Iconic Civil Rights leader, C.T. Vivian, delivered a speech that imbued workers with the same courage and conviction that inspired the movement for which he is known.

Mass Meeting

 

On the night of the first strike, legendary Civil Rights Leader Rev. C.T. Vivian from Atlanta joined faith leaders from black churches across Kansas City to hold a mass meeting at Metro Missionary Baptist Church to support striking fast food workers. Hundreds came to stand with fast food workers and to hear Rev. Vivian’s message to continue the fight for economic and racial justice and to

remember power cedes nothing without demand. “The reason we’re all here,” Rev. Vivian said, “is because the rattle we started years ago is not finished. And because nobody’s gonna’ give us our freedom, we’re gonna’ have to take it; nobody gives you freedom, you take it.”

July 30 Strike

 

On July 30 the strike grew. Scores of workers from over 30 Fast Food shops in Kansas City struck. They gathered at the Good Jobs for All Rally and March where hundreds of community allies, religious and civic leaders and local union leaders stood with them. Workers and their allies took the message to the streets and their places of work to make their message clear. Amid chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, poverty wages have got to go” and “We can’t survive on $7.35”, workers called for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Leaders from fast food shops all over the city spoke out about how low wages impact their families and why workers must work together to win. Kansas City was one of eight cities that went on strike nation wide that day. Workers across the country called for higher pay, benefits, respect on-the-job and an end to discrimination from the multi-billion dollar corporations for whom they work, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and others.

August 29 Strike

 

Less than thirty days after the first strike, Kansas City’s fast food workers struck again. They answered a national call to action that went out across the country. Their numbers grew exponentially. This time, over 30 cities declared their intention to strike. But on the day of the strike, that number erupted into 60 and Kansas City was at the center, with even more workers joining the movement. Courageous fast food workers stood up in over 40 Kansas City shops to tell their employers how they really feel about working conditions. Among other things, workers demanded a living wage, a union, and respect. Community support continued to grow as well, as allies, including faith groups, senators, representatives, community organizations, and other supporters stood strong. Among them were Dr. Vernon Howard, Dr. Wallace Hartsfield, NAACP President Anita Russell, Reverend Stan Tunnels, St. Mark’s Pastor Donna Simon, and Missouri State Representative Judy Morgan.

Public Cost Meeting

 

In October of 2013, the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the National Employment Law Project each released reports documenting the public cost of low wages in the fast food industry. The government spends 7 billion dollars annually, they concluded, to help fast food workers pay for the food, housing and medical care their low wages come nowhere near covering. The Workers Organizing Committee of Kansas City held a press conference and public hearings on the issue simultaneously with dozens of other cities across the country. Workers testified about the food stamps, housing assistance, and other forms of benefits they must rely upon to survive. National and local press covered the story widely, shining a bright spotlight on the dependence of this multi-billion dollar industry on public tax dollars.

 

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December 5 Strike

 

Kansas City made history as we joined a national strike wave of fast food workers in 130 cities fighting for $15 and a union. Supporters joined workers on strike across the metro area. Workers won front-page headlines from the KC Star to the New York Times and a ringing endorsement of support from KC’s Mayor, Sly James.

 

The mayor applauded workers proclaiming, “Dedicated advocates like you all have driven important changes in our community and throughout this nation. Social and economic changes are both long-term struggles that require collective, sustained action. You all have the momentum and the commitment to change the perception and the reality of what a living wage means...”

 

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