CAIR-Chicago ‘s Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson and Government Affairs Intern Shivani Chokshi attended the Fight for 15 rally held at the corporate headquarters of McDonald’s in Oak Brook, IL on May 21, 2014. More than 300 McDonald’s employees marched to fight for an increase in minimum wage to $15. Among the 300 workers, more than 100 MCD’s were arrested along with some clergy members and affiliates in non-profit organizations.
The protesters were planning their strike at McDonald’s headquarters on 2111 McDonald’s Drive; however, due to its shutdown the event took place on the McDonald’s campus by Hamburger University and the Hyatt Lodge instead.
According to the Oak Brook Police, there were more than 1,500 people that showed up to support this movement. These people were joined by William Barber, an official from the NAACP, and Mary Kay Henry, the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Chokshi states, “The amount of people we saw contributing to this cause in Oak Brook was incredible. The best part was is that some were fighting not only for the improvement in their own lifestyles, but for others as well. It is movements like these that bring the right people together at the right time to address the room for improvement in even the most powerful nations in the world.”
The issue on increasing minimum wage has been in the limelight since November 29, 2012 when fast-food employees from Burger King, Taco Bell, along with McDonald’s joined together in New York to picket for an increase in minimum wages to $15. More than a year later on December 5, 2013, thousands of retail and fast-food workers gathered in over 100 cities across the nation to continue the effort. Ever since then, more people have joined Fight for 15’s efforts and consequentially, the organization has succeeded in grasping national attention.
“The issue of fair wages has deep currents in shaping the nation’s stature in the world. This noble fight is determining if the rich and powerful will continue to deny equity and access for sustainable, enriched livelihoods for all. Industry, innovation, and financial success for global companies with multibillion dollar profits can determine the future course of human rights in the world,” said Hankerson, who is also a member of an interfaith labor rights organization ARISE Chicago.