by Sheila Payne Alachua County Labor Coalition
The Alachua County Labor Coalition (ACLC) has been working with Fight for 15 Florida to visit with and sign up fast food workers in Alachua County the last 2 months in addition to the ACLC Living Wage Campaign. We need folks willing to join us in both of these campaigns. The fast food workers are very eager to learn that Fight for 15 has come to their community, and we have visited over 50 fast-food restaurants locally with the Fight for 15 state-wide organizers providing the initial training.
We had a well-attended meeting in September where about a dozen fast-food, child-care and health care workers from the Tampa/St. Pete area joined twenty labor coalition and local community members to provide testimony about the gains they have made there in the Fight for 15. They spoke of one-day strikes, fighting for better pay, for better working conditions and being treated with dignity and as a valued employee.
These workers were on their way back from Tallahassee where they had marched and spent all day lobbying legislators on worker issues, including a living wage for all workers in Florida. Sen. Dwight Bullard moderated the press conference that the workers spoke at and has once again introduced Senate bill SB 6, companion to HB 109 to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour in Florida.
McDonald’s is leading the slide to the bottom on worker wages and rights internationally. It is the second largest employer in the world, and many of the workers that we talked to in Gainesville have worked at McDonald’s for an average of 8 years and have never seen a raise above minimum wage. McDonald’s business model was thrashed at a hearing of the Brazilian senate’s human rights committee in August where workers from five continents testified about the low pay and poor working conditions at the fast-food giant.
Two McDonald workers from the Fight for 15 in Tampa were in Brazil to testify and shared their stories with us at our meeting in Gainesville.
We are gearing up for a nationwide action in November, so there will be more worker outreach actions and strategy meetings locally.
Join us in the Fight for 15 struggle and also the Living Wage Campaign in Alachua County. Keep up to date on the ACLC Facebook page and website. Contact the ACLC office if you would like to work on these campaigns. Our next Living Wage meeting is Oct. 8, 5:30 pm at the ACEA office, 618 NW 13th Ave.