CHICAGO - Fast food workers say they're prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention on Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Illinois.
The agitators are asking the approximately 1000 attendees to do "whatever it takes" to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, a representative of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that have taken place in Chicago and across the country, as well as a protest outside this year's McDonald's Corp. shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois that resulted in more than 130 arrests.
"I don't think $15 will make me rich. ... I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don't want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick," said Nancy Salgado of Chicago, who claims to earn minimum wage after 12 years with the company.
"If we've got to stop working and shut down (restaurants) to get it, that's what we're going to do," she said.