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Joy in the Struggle, Fast Food Workers Are Standing Up

Remembering a Wonderful Day on Picket Lines Across the Nation!]

This is exactly the way it should be done, drumming, chanting, singing, marching, and statements of Solidarity. This diary is a celebration of the joy of the struggle with photos of unity and songs to fight by.

Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might;
Take the wealth that you are making,
It belongs to you by right.
[-Joe Hill]


Fight like hell until you go to heaven!
Mother Jones

Get Up, Stand Up. Life is your right
So we can’t give up the fight
Stand up for your right, Lord, Lord
Get Up, Stand Up. Keep on struggling on
Don’t give up the fight
[-Bob Marley]


Stunningly beautiful display of Solidarity that tells the Fast Food Workers:
“You are not alone. We stand beside you!”

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn that
The union makes us strong
[-Ralph Chaplin]

sung by wobs as it should be sung


With a union card in our pocket, we no longer beg. We sit across the table from our boss as equals, and we bargain. We present our demands and the boss is forced to negotiate with us. The boss is forced to sign a contract which is enforceable by law. For this right, the right to bargain collectively, men, women, and children went out on strike, lived through the winter in tents; and, in the spring, they fought and they died.

We’ve been shot, we’ve been jailed, lord its a sin
Women and children stood right by the men
We’ve got a union contract that keeps the worker free
They’ll never shoot that union out of me

They’ll never shoot that union out of me, oh no
They’ll never shoot that union out of me
Got a contract in our hand signed by the blood of honest men
They’ll never shoot that union out of me
[-Hazel Dickens]


Merry F-ing Christmas, now get back to work!
-Ronald McGrinch

Now I long for the morning that they realize
Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
But who’ll defend the workers, who cannot organize
When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?
[-Billy Bragg]


She’s the Working Class, the strength of this world!
Hazel Dickens

She’s the Rebel Girl, the Rebel Girl;
She’s the Working Class, the strength of this world.
From Maine to Georgia you’ll see
Her fighting for you and for me.
Yes, she’s there by your side with her courage and pride;
She’s unequaled anywhere.
And I’m proud to fight for Freedom
With a Rebel Girl.
[-Joe Hill and Hazel Dickens]


Less than a minute:

Visit these web sites, sign up, sign petition, tweet, like, & share:

[Fast Food Forward]

[Low Pay Is Not OK]

[Fight for 15]

Send tweets of support; it’s fun and quick. Here is one of mine:

About 5-15 minutes

Write a letter to a government official. Here is my letter, written to the Secretary of Labor:

[Email for Sec of Lbr:

To: Thomas Perez
U. S. Secretary of Labor
Dear Sir:

I am writing to you about the problem of wage theft on behalf of a group of low-wage workers. Not only do they labor for low wages, but then their boss must also coerce them into working for even less than minimum wage. During the slack time of day, the boss tells them to punch out. But yet they cannot leave. They are told to sit down in the corner booth, be quiet and wait until business picks up again. This is usually for one or two hours. Then they are allowed to punch back in. I have also been told that they must stay and clean, and that some of this is without wages.

Now, please do not advise me to call a lawyer on their behalf, I have already done that. The lawyer says they definitely have a case on the basis of wage theft. But my friends are too afraid of being fired to pursue a case. And that is exactly how these low-wage bosses get away with wage-theft. The employee stands a good chance of being fired and/or harassed out of a job should they seek justice. And these are exactly the folks who would suffer an immediate crisis if fired ie, possible homelessness and hunger.

The Department of Labor should get involved in this issue. Tips such as the one I’m making right now, should be followed up on. Wage theft should be punished by more than paying back the wages along with a fine. The boss still comes out ahead in such an arrangement! How many ordinary citizens could commit theft on a grand scale and get away without doing prison time? How many of us would be told to pay the money back, pay a small (for them) fine, and everything is A-OK? !!!

Clearly, we are not all equal on the scales of justice.
When the rich steal from the poor, it is, sadly, barely even a crime.
It’s more like a parking violation.
But when the poor steal from the rich, even if it’s food they are stealing….?

I wrote this letter quickly, and anyone can see that it isn’t perfect. Please! do something, it does not have to be perfect. Just do something. One such letter can be ignored. 50,000 letters, not so much.

About 30 minutes to an hour:

Visit your nearest fast food joint and ask to speak to the mangers. You can go with or without a script. Your talking points can be found at the web sites above. Now, I was going to go to the place where my friend works and take the above letter with me. But then I got to thinking: should they call the police, and I needed to show my ID, the boss of the joint would see right where I live, and realize the the complaining employee was my next-door neighbor. And so I reconsidered that action.

But I do strongly believe that these fast food joints should be confronted with what they are doing, and they should be confronted often. Our silence equals consent. Low wages are not OK. Wage theft is not OK. We need to let both corporate headquarters and the local businesses know that we know what they are doing. And we need to let our fellow workers know that they matter to us.

A Bigger Commitment, But Fun

Organize an event! This really is a big commitment, but what a lot of fun it can be. Chanting, singing, cheering, speechifying. I think it can be done any time, not only on days organized nationally. So if you missed the the last event, grab a few people and organize one of your own. Please remember that on behalf of the Fast Food Workers, the issue is this: Low Pay Is Not OK. They are not calling for boycotts. They are calling for economic justice for themselves and for their fellow workers.

On The Good Old Picket Line
On the good old picket line
On the good old picket line
We need more dancing and singing
On the good old picket line.


H/T for video to Horace Boothroyd III

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