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al jazeeraAlthough SIEU would like for you to believe that the Fight for $15 campaign is a grassroots effort, the fact remains that it’s a top-down campaign.

Fight for $15 currently lacks a definable membership, collective bargaining agreement or dues-paying structure. It instead proceeds in the style of worker centers: neighborhood-based, nonprofit labor groups that earned a reputation, beginning in the 1990s, for using street actions and media to assist low-wage laborers.

There is a national organizing committee comprising around 26 fast-food workers who convene by phone once a month. But, a campaign ally — who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation — said, “They are spokespeople, not representatives.”

“[The organizers] make the decisions. We just give opinions,” said Tamika Jackson, a veteran cashier at McDonald’s in Milwaukee. She meant this not as a critique, however, but as a compliment to Fight for $15. “The organizers run things, but I stand beside them 100 percent. They ask our opinion and see how many people want to [protest].” Jackson, who belonged to a union as a factory worker in Tennessee, said she will continue pushing for one in fast food…

Right now, the movement lacks the democratic structure needed to bargain at a nationwide level. As one SEIU organizer not authorized to speak on the record queried, “If McDonald’s were to make an offer tomorrow, who would decide whether to accept?”

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