National Politics

Striking McDonald’s workers, after a chat with Bernie Sanders, protest at DFW Airport

Striking McDonald’s workers meet with Bernie Sanders

Striking McDonald's workers from across the U.S. protested outside the company's shareholders meeting Thursday at a DFW Airport hotel, and also spoke by video conference call with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
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Striking McDonald's workers from across the U.S. protested outside the company's shareholders meeting Thursday at a DFW Airport hotel, and also spoke by video conference call with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Dozens of striking McDonald’s workers, emboldened by a video message from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, attempted to peacefully disrupt McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday at a DFW Airport hotel.

The workers, who traveled to North Texas from across the country, demanded better pay and working conditions. They asked to meet with McDonald’s representatives, who were meeting in a secluded conference room at the Grand Hyatt DFW inside the airport’s Terminal D, but were turned away by security.

“I make $8.50 an hour. Nothing has changed in nine years,” said Rita Blalock, who traveled to the Metroplex from Raleigh, N.C. Blalock says she receives government assistance to make ends meet with her limited salary.

Another protestor, Tanya Harrell, added: “For years, we have been bringing to light problems the workers have been facing — sexual violence, sexual harassment. We need a seat at the table with McDonald’s to solve these problems.”

The group, part of the Fight for $15 campaign attempting to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, obeyed directions from security officials not to chant inside the hotel lobby or the terminal. They stood mostly quietly outside the conference room area, then walked en masse outside the airport terminal and engaged in chants on the sidewalk, passing out informational pamphlets to passers-by.

Moments before the group’s march to the McDonald’s meeting, the group virtually met with Sanders in a video question and answer session.

Sanders urged the group to fight for a seat at the corporate table, to demand better pay and union representation.

“We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, but tens of millions of workers don’t know that because they’re working long hours for low wages,” Sanders told the crowd during the video exchange.

Members of the group said McDonald’s workers walked off the job in cities across the United States, including: Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Detroit; Durham, N.C.; Houston; Kansas City; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; Orlando; St. Louis and Tampa.

At DFW, some of the protestors flew in from North Carolina, Florida and other states — and others arrived by bus from Houston.

There were no known incidents of McDonald’s workers striking in Dallas-Fort Worth.

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Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.

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