By Brother Louis Rodemann

On Feb. 16, Stand Up KC held a “victory” march and rally at a local Hardee’s fast food restaurant. The day before, Andrew Puzder, CEO of the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., had stepped down as President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor. This concluded a two-month nationwide campaign. The number of cities and the size of the rallies grew with the uncovering of a catalog of labor injustices: charges of racial and sexual harassment, low wages, wage theft, part-time schedules, sporadic hours, and lack of benefits.

Winner of PeaceWorks’ Cheatum Award, Stand Up KC is part of a four-year movement begun by workers in New York in November 2012. The local group commemorated the fourth anniversary on Nov. 29, 2016, with hundreds of workers and allies rallying at 63 rd  and Paseo, then marching to Meyer and Troost, site of a McDonald’s restaurant, where 108 persons sat and blocked traffic in that intersection. All were arrested and charged with disobeying an officer—failing to stand up and disperse. The date for a hearing continues to be postponed.

In the KC metro area, the organization has led multiple rallies and marches, with workers walking out on strike at fast-food restaurants, struggling and advocating fair wages and just working conditions—$15 per hour and a union. Recently other workers have joined, including day care workers, health care providers, untenured teachers, and airline baggage handlers.

—Christian Brother Louis Rodemann has participated in Stand Up KC rallies, has accompanied a striking worker back to the job the next day, was arrested for civil resistance Nov. 29, and went on the Stand Up KC bus to St. Louis to protest the candidacy of Puzder.