Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Solidarity Decries Fast Food Wages

A handful of Georgetown students joined protesters from several other local universities Saturday at a McDonald’s in Adams organ to rally against what they said were unfair wages paid to certain McDonald’s employees.

Members of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, joined by students from George Washington University and American University, said that farmers who pick tomatoes for companies that supply cDonald’s are inadequately compensated, and demanded that cDonald’s pay more money for its tomatoes.

Standing on the sidewalk on 18th and Columbia Streets, the protestors held signs and dressed up clowns to expose what they called the absurdity of McDonald’s policies, according to Ashwini Jaising (COL ’08), who organized the group of Georgetown students.

They chanted, “Down, down with exploitation! Up, up with fair-food nation!” and drew arrows on the sidewalk and facade of the building pointing to other restaurants hoping to persuade costumers to dine elsewhere.

“My challenge to Georgetown students is to think about whose sweat went into your meal and do something about it,” Jaisingh said.

In between chanting, the protesters spent time explaining their position to the bystanders, Jaisingh said.

Students protested in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which represents many low-wage and immigrant workers in Florida, including many who work to supply tomatoes to cDonald’s, Jaisingh said.

Corporate spokesmen from McDonald’s declined to comment.

The protest was part of a larger campaign to increase wages for employees at major fast-food chains. Students from Georgetown and other Washington, D.C., universities participated in a rally last year seeking better wage conditions for employees at Taco Bell, and the Solidarity Committee plans to campaign against Chipotle later this year, Jaisingh said.

“McDonald’s has taken a path that threatens to undercut wage gains won by farm workers in the Taco Bell boycott and to push workers back away from the table where decisions are made that affect their lives,” she said.

The protesters also intended to deliver a letter drafted by the CIW to the manager of the McDonald’s franchise. The letter requested that McDonald’s pay more per pound of tomatoes and that the extra money be given to the farmers.

“We delivered a letter to the management of the store, asking them to pay their tomato pickers more money. Right now they definitely make less than minimum wage,” said Dunya Cope (SFS ’07), a member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee who participated in the protest.

Jaisingh said that the protestors were met with some resistance, as employees decided to block the entrance to the building.

“The manager came out and locked the doors. It was ironic because it kept the customers out, too,” she said.

Jaisingh said that she hopes the protest will benefit all cDonald’s employees.

“It was amazing that the workers inside were giving us the thumbs up,” Jaisingh said.

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