A few New Orleans' fast food workers join national strike
Don Ames Reporting
Service may be a little slow at a few fast food restaurants in the New Orleans today.
A handful New Orleans area fast food workers are expected to take part in a national protest over low wages.
Workers across the country want to call attention to the difficulties of living on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Collette Tippy, Lead Organizer at Stand with Dignity at the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, says the local problem goes beyond just fast food workers.
"We have a lot of low wage work here, and a great number of people who aren't able to survive on those low wages."
She says a number of local restaurant workers will participate in spite of their fears.
"We expect a good turnout," Tippy says. "Probably ten to fifteen workers are faced with great fears of retaliation. In spite of their low wages, they have fear of being able to find other work in the New Orleans area."
She says that fear is keeping more fast food workers from walking off the job.
"They're very brave workers who are standing up for their right to earn a living wage here in New Orleans. People are fearful of standing up against their employers and employers do a great deal to ensure that people are terrified of losing their jobs here."
Tippy says the number of workers who would participate in the strike wasn't clear. But, even if it's as few as ten, it's a huge action for this area.
"I think that it's a growing movement and that low wage workers are tired of being treated like they're disposable workers."
She says restaurants across the Greater New Orleans area will be affected as protesters call for a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
And she's hopeful today's action may inspire other workers to take further action.
STAND is a grass-roots organization of low-income residents and workers in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice is dedicated to organizing workers across race and industry to build the power and participation of workers and communities. The group organizes day laborers, guestworkers, and homeless residents to build movement for dignity and rights in the post-Katrina landscape.