Reacting to the recent decisions not to indict police officers for killing unarmed African American civilians in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Staten Island, New York, workers across the country began their strike actions with a minute of silence and their hands held up over their heads. Fast-food workers and supporters gathered late Tuesday evening to shut down the Phillips 66 convenience store in St. Louis. They chanted “hands up don’t shoot” and did a die-in in remembrance of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. The following morning, they rallied at Hardee’s, McDonald’s, and Chipotle. Later they marched downtown, had a second “hands up” moment of silence, and did another die-in. Show Me $15 has been going for two years, but Williams said the mood has shifted since Michael Brown was shot. There’s a sense the struggles are closely interconnected. “Most fast-food workers live in poor communities, just like Ferguson,” she said. “And if we had good jobs, if these corporations were paying their workers a livable wage, our community would be a lot stronger.” Such low wages encourage crime, she suggested. “There’s a lot of people…who feel like they can be out in the streets making more money than going to work and being paid $7.50 an hour.” Workers from the McDonald’s in Ferguson participated in the actions as well. That store was burnt down during the uprising that followed Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. In the days after the shooting, members of the fast food workers group joined demonstrations daily. They said their experience striking had helped them know how to organize for justice.
Diane Krauthamer in Hands Up, Fast Food! (Labornotes)