SEIU Takes the Spotlight at a Fast-Food Protest for Once

by Josh Encinias

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has played a large role in the global protests against fast-food restaurants calling for more unionizing privileges and a $15 minimum wage, but not usually a public one.

On Wednesday, SEIU placed themselves front and center during a protest in front of McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. In fact, the labor union’s international president, Mary Kay Henry, helped storm the company’s entrance.

SEIU claimed that 2,000 protesters were in attendance, while the Oak Brook Police Department estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 people were present.

In an amusing twist, Henry tweeted a thank-you to the police for their service and “diligence during today’s actions,” when she and more than 120 people, including professional protesters and a few McDonald’s employees, were arrested for trespassing.

SEIU’s demands in Illinois were the same as those expressed at a number of fast-food-worker strikes and protests in recent months: a $15 minimum wage and protection from any retaliation against organizing workers by their employers. The union, which represents thousands of increasingly public-sector workers across the country, backs a number of the groups that have run (and largely staffed) such protests, like the one NRO reported on in New York City earlier this month, but their role isn’t usually as public as it was on Wednesday.

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