KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Workers from the United Auto Workers local 249 took on a group metro fast-food workers for a friendly game of basketball and to show support for their efforts to create a union and receive the sort of wages and protections they say are necessary to survive.
"The American dream is to be able to live. To have a living wage. To be able to take care of your children," said fast-food worker Latoya Caldwell, who says she works 40 hours a week, but it isn't enough to take care of her five children. "We need fifteen dollars (an hour). We need our union. If we have more money, we can boost our economy."
UAW member and electrician Pat Hayes says that he remembers what it was like working without a union membership.
"No benefits, no pay, no voice on the job, no safety protections," said Hayes, who says that union membership has allowed him to put his kids through college, get healthcare for his family and buy a home.
Hayes says that fast-food workers should be entitled to those same opportunities.
"Especially when they work for a billion dollar corporation that pays its CEOs millions of dollars a year," said Hayes. "Their demands are really modest. Fifteen dollars an hour and a voice on the job."
Opponents of unionization say that it would be difficult to sustain such a drastic wage increase, and that high turnover rates also makes unionization difficult.