Tampa, FL - Striking workers from Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, and other fast food restaurants joined supporters for a militant march and protest in Tampa, FL. This day of action is part of the Fight For 15 campaign, a national action movement of low-wage workers against corporate giants like McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell. These big fast food corporations make billions in profits by exploiting their workers. The national day of action saw thousands of workers across the country walkout over unfair labor practices, demanding an end to retaliation and harassment for organizing, as well as demanding a $15 wage, and union representation.
On Thursday, December 5, the day started when an entire shift of Dunkin Donuts workers shutdown their store with a 6:00 AM walkout over harassment and retaliation from management. Later, more strikers and supporters joined, including India Lewis, a 19-year-old single mother, illegally fired from Burger King. Lewis was fired for talking with her co-workers about organizing for better conditions and respect on the job. The crowd swelled to over 100 protesters picketing along a string of restaurants, including KFC and IHOP, and then marching on McDonald's chanting “15 and a union!” & “Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersized!”
The protest was met at McDonald’s by dozens of police standing side-by-side with a string of corporate managers. The bosses and police were trying to prevent the striking workers from entering the store and talking with McDonald’s workers. The managers even went so far as to lock the doors of the store, trapping customers and workers inside the store. When workers went to lead the protest back to the KFC, the police vacated the McDonald’s parking lot to head off the protest. The militant workers and strikers sensed an opportunity and lead the protest back to shutdown the McDonald’s drive-thru.
The protest included workers from OUR Walmart who use similar tactics to strike Walmart in efforts to fight for better conditions. The recent strike wave is part of a broader movement to revive the strike and embrace militant tactics to fight against exploitation by the 1%. Organizers in Tampa plan to continue organizing future strikes, as well as actions to demand Justice for India Lewis, pushing Burger King to reinstate her.