Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on McDonald's workers’ strike

Union organizers led a midday demonstration Tuesday outside an east side Detroit McDonald's and demanded $15-an-hour wages and an easier path to unionizing fast-food workers. The group of about 300 people, undeterred by the freakishly cold fall temperature and snow, marched for several blocks along Outer Drive and gathered outside the McDonald's restaurant at 19840 Van Dyke Ave., delivering union chants such as "We work, we sweat, put $15 in our check" and "If we don't get it, shut it down."

The demonstration, which organizers called a McDonald's workers' strike, was put together by the Service Employees International Union, which wants to boost the workers' pay and organize them. Labor experts say there are many hurdles to unionizing McDonald's workers, such as the high employee turnover rate and how nearly 95% of the company's restaurants are franchise locations that must be organized one at a time. "You are technically only able to organize and form a bargaining unit with the franchise — not with the corporation that oversees all of them as a whole,” said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business.

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