Local fast food workers set to strike next week


Willietta Dukes says she plans to walk off her job at Burger King next Thursday, which will come one day after she plans to march on Washington.

"I've worked 16 hour days raising my boys," said Dukes.

For 15 years, Dukes has raised two kids on her own. She's worked at just about every brand of fast food counter, griddle and drive-thru in Durham.

"I'm a server. I think it's a blessing. I don't think it's a curse," said Dukes. "So, I'm good at this so why should I go somewhere else."

Next Thursday the 39-year-old and dozens of others in the Triangle plan to walk off the job.

"I need to be heard," said Dukes. "They need to know how we the workers are feeling."

In all her years of working, $8.65 an hour is the highest wage Dukes has ever earned. She says Burger King has threatened to cut her hours even more to cope with costs related to the new healthcare law.

Dukes hopes the protest will lead to a $15 an hour minimum wage and more hours.

"I can't even afford to live in a $500 apartment a month because I'm barely making $600, maybe $650, $700 a month max."

The protest will follow several strikes from three weeks ago in seven major cities across the country including New York, Chicago and Detroit.

It was timed for the immediate aftermath of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The strike will symbolically lead up to Labor Day.

"I think it's another movement just like civil rights this is my right in America to work and to be paid for what I do," said Dukes.

Dukes is on her way to the nation's capital for the historic anniversary march, but she fears she'll face retaliation from Burger King, possibly even termination.

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