The Center for American Progress interviews the Rev. Liz Muñoz about the on-going strikes against fast food outlets. The strikes are occurring across the country to support fast food workers in their quest for a living wage and full time employment:
Listen to the interview here (mp3)
Jack Jenkins: Hello. My name is Jack Jenkins, Senior Writer and Researcher with the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative here at the Center for American Progress. With me today is Rev. Liz Muñoz, an Episcopal priest at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, who also sits on the board of directors for Arise Chicago, an organization that builds partnerships between faith communities and workers to fight workplace injustice through education, organizing, and advocating for public policy changes.
We brought in Rev. Muñoz this afternoon because she is involved with the Chicago iteration of what are being called the “fast-food strikes.” Since January, fast-food and retail workers in seven cities—New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and most recently Seattle—have all gone on strike, walking out of their workplaces en masse demanding higher wages and the right to unionize. And the movement looks to be growing. But since these workers don’t usually have a union to organize them, they rely on partnerships with local community groups—including faith groups and faith leaders such as Muñoz—to help coordinate their efforts.
JJ: Just one more question. You’ve talked a lot about collaborations between faith groups and other community groups in Chicago during these fast-food strikes. Could you say a little bit more about the role of collaborations and coalition building in this work?
Liz Muñoz: Right. I think a lot of different organizations are coming together—churches, community-based groups such as Action Now here in Chicago, churches similar to my own—because there’s a crisis in this country, and we recognize that all these different issues are actually related. The issue of worker’s rights is related to the issue of immigrant rights. It’s related to the issue of women’s rights. It’s an economic issue too, because in this country, more and more of the wealth is at the top, and very, very little of the wealth is being dispersed among the people who need it most.
As the consequence 49 elementary schools just got closed down here in Chicago. There are less mental health and health care services available. There are less opportunities for people to come together and actually plan a future for themselves and for their children. So we come together as faith leaders to support those workers and those community leaders who are looking to improve not just the status of individual workers but also the condition of all people, so that the wealth that is being concentrated at the top can be distributed and shared and used to promote the well-being of all
Read or listen to the whole transcript here.