African American sanitation workers in Memphis began a strike on this date in 1968. Today, Sonya Mae Sayer is joining the protest at a McDonald’s near downtown Des Moines.
“Pay us $15 and give us a union,” Sayer says, “so that we have some benefits because it’s not good to have $15 an hour and have no benefits.”
Sayer, who is 55 years old, is on Social Security Disability. She worked three hours last week at a McDonald’s near a Des Moines mall, at an hourly wage of $9.
“Think about the hard work you do to make a living and see that there are people out there working 40 hours a week and are still in poverty,” she says. “It hurts.”
Last September, workers at a Burger King in Ankeny went on strike to protest working conditions. Fast-food workers across the country are planning six-weeks of protests this spring. It will end with a march in Memphis along the same route strikers took in 1968.