#Iamfastfood: Striking Workers Take to Twitter

The fast food workers currently organizing a nationwide strike face blowback online.


In what’s being called the largest strike of its kind in U.S. history, thousands of low-wage non-union workers for chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s have taken to the streets in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, Michigan.


The workers’ groups are using Facebook and Twitter to coordinate across cities and expand the footprint of their protests by posting updates, videos, and photos.

There’s a long list of hashtags in use by the movement. Here’s a quick glossary:

#iamfastfood, a message of solidarity and a tag for testimonies from striking workers.

#fastfoodfwd, Fast Food Forward, the New York City-based organizing group.

#1u for “one union”, a pro-worker hashtag in use for a few years by public worker unions as well as other progressive organizers, currently tells stories of striking coal miners and teachers as well as the fast food workers.

#p2 (“Progressives 2.0”) has been in use at least since 2009 as an organizing tool for various campaigns on Twitter.


#Strikefor15 refers to the group’s basic demand, for a $15/hour starting wage.

But scrolling through these hashtags shows that the striking workers, while supported by many politicians, and media figures, have some PR work to do with the general public–or, maybe it’s a clever sock puppet campaign by the fast food companies themselves. Running alongside the messages of support are comments like these:

“You aren’t SUPPOSED to be able to raise a family working at McDonalds you freaking clowns! Try getting an economics education. #iamfastfood.”

“Fast food jobs r great for student-age kids. Trying to raise a family? Wait until you develop the skills to land an adult job. #IAmFastFood”

“If you want to make 15 bucks an hour quit your job and get one for 15 dollars an hour. Unless there is a problem with that….#strikefor15”

About the author

Anya Kamenetz is the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her 2011 ebook The Edupunks’ Guide was funded by the Gates Foundation