The fast food workers won't be rallying alone; Steven Greenhouse reports that SEIU, which has backed the fast food organizing effort, is encouraging home care workers to join protests in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Seattle. SEIU is articulating the value of linking the struggles of different groups of low-wage workers:
Within the S.E.I.U., there has been some grumbling about why has the union spent millions of dollars to back the fast-food workers when they are not in the industries that the union has traditionally represented.If you have a broad low-wage economy, as the United States does, it's true that it becomes harder to break the pattern just by changing one industry—Walmart and McDonald's exert downward pressure not only on other retailers and fast food chains but on home care workers and janitors and other occupations. It will take solidarity across cities, fast food chains, and industries for workers to build enough power to force wages up and get the leverage to demand better treatment in the workplace. That, as much as the planned civil disobedience, is an important way of ratcheting up the effectiveness of the campaign to organize fast food.
But [SEIU President Mary Kay] Henry defended the strategy, saying that underwriting the fast-food push has helped persuade many people that $15 is a credible wage floor for many workers. She said it prompted Seattle to adopt a $15 minimum wage and that San Francisco was considering a similar move. She also said the campaign helped persuade the Los Angeles school district to sign a contract for 20,000 cafeteria workers, custodians and other service workers that will raise their pay, now often $8 or $9 an hour, to $15 by 2016.