SEIU 1021

“We want COVID leave and better protection. We want to be respected as people.”
On Dr. King's Birthday, Fast Food Workers Went on Strike for Safe Working Conditions, a Federal $15 Minimum Wage, and a Union

Maria Sabina stands in front of the McDonald's location she works at on Friday, January 15, 2021.McDonald's worker Maria Ruiz stands in front of a McDonald's location in West Oakland, CA at the Fight for 15 car caravan on Friday, January 15, 2021.

January 15, 2021 – On the birthday of beloved Civil Rights pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fast-food workers in Oakland and Sacramento California banned together with fast-food workers in 15 cities across the country to strike for safe working conditions, fight for a $15 federal minimum wage, and a union. 

McDonald’s workers, SEIU 1021 members, and supporters of the Fight for 15 caravanned to multiple locations in Oakland, CA taking over drive-thru windows, chanting, honking, and delivering petitions demanding an end to unsafe working conditions at McDonald’s once and for all. “We decided to strike on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday because we thought it was appropriate and about time we stood up for ourselves and fought for better working conditions and for better wages nationwide. We strike in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” said Maria Ruiz, a 20-year employee at a McDonald’s location in San Jose, CA. 

Maria Sabina, who works at a McDonald’s in West Oakland, said, “We want COVID leave and better protection. We want to be respected as people.”

Click here to see more photos from the Oakland car caravan. Click here to see photos from the Sacramento car caravan.

January 15, 2021, also marked another notable moment in history as Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced the Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act to address chronic workplace health and safety issues in the fast-food industry which have worsened during the pandemic. The FAST Recovery Act is the first legislation of its kind to establish industry-wide standards that specifically target large chain fast-food corporations and empower fast-food workers in their fight for safer working conditions and liveable wages. 

“It is important that corporations like McDonald’s improve working conditions. It is important that national fast-food corporations also provide a living wage and most important, workers need a union” said Maria Ruiz, a McDonald’s employee who participated in the car caravan in Oakland, CA last Friday. On the heels of an announcement from President-Elect Joe Biden where he prioritized the federal minimum wage in his first 100 days in office, the FAST Recovery Act is as timely as it is necessary. Working people across California and the entire nation need the Fight for 15 and corporate accountability, so everyone can have a safe job that will help their families get ahead.

Click here to read the news coverage of the strike at KQEDSFGate and Reveal.