On September 4, thousands fast food workers went on strike and engaged in civil disobedience for higher wages, better working conditions, and the right to form a union without fear of retaliation. Workers across North Carolina joined in the fight, going on strike in cities including Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh, and Goldsboro.
Many of North Carolina’s fast food workers only earn the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and are often forced to work multiple jobs or rely on public assistance programs just to feed their families. In this round of strikes, workers escalated their strategy by engaging in civil disobedience. In North Carolina, workers occupied intersections in downtown Durham for three hours before 26 were arrested by the Durham Police Department.
The National Labor Relations Act protects the right of workers to engage in concerted activity such as last week’s strikes. However, many are nonetheless subjected to retaliation or intimidation for their conduct. Mike, Paul, and Narendra worked with North Carolina’s workers to help ensure that their rights are protected, with Mike coordinating criminal legal coverage across the state, and Paul and Narendra working on the ground at strikes and demonstrations in Durham and Raleigh. Patterson Harkavy has also advocated for workers who have been the victims of unlawful retaliation by pursuing their rights before the National Labor Relations Board.
Last week’s strikes received statewide and national attention. For more information about the fast food workers’ union, visit their website.