Workers at Kansas City-area McDonald's, Burger King and other restaurants are planning to participate in what's being billed as a national strike on Labor Day, calling for $15 an hour as well as union rights.
Terrence Wise, who works at McDonald's and is a leader of the organization Stand-Up KC/Fight for $15, says workers in his industry don’t get the day off. But they're taking the day off anyway because they want to bring back the meaning of Labor Day.
“Workers like me know it's not just for holiday or bargain sales at your local store," says Wise. "It’s actually a day for workers to come together from all different industries to demand better. Whether it’s higher wages or better benefits on the job, better pay, better working conditions. That's what we'll be out doing on Labor Day."
Actions in Kansas City will start with a rally at 8 a.m. at 33rd Street and Southwest Trafficway, followed by a march to Research Hospital at Meyer Boulevard and Prospect, where a rally is scheduled for noon.
Joining the restaurant workers are dietary aides, nurses' assistants, transporters and other hospital-industry workers. Also scheduled to participate are U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Missouri NAACP President Rod Chappel, along with other elected officials and faith leaders.
Organizers estimate such strikes in 300 cities around the country.
"We'll be out in full force," Wise says, "and we'll be joined by union workers to highlight our need for a union."
C.J. Janovy is an arts reporter for KCUR 89.3. You can find her on Twitter, @cjjanovy.