McDonald's strike in Macedonia Ohio USA

by Andrea Lynn Strnad

18th April 1998

Six employees at a McDonald's in Macedonia, Ohio went on strike on Easter Sunday to protest unfair wages and working conditions. The picket line lasted five days until an agreement was reached on Friday, April 17 with the help of the local Teamsters union.

"We are being treated like ground meat. I got a ten-cent raise after working here for a year," said Jason Cyphert, 18, who is paid $6.10 per hour. Workers who were being paid $5.85 per hour were being asked to train new hires being paid $6.10 an hour. Managers didn't post work schedules in advance and there was little communication between workers and management when problems arose.

The agreement reached between the workers and management will apply to three restaurants in the area. The president of Teamsters Local Union 416, Dominic Tocco, was present and supported the workers during negotiation. The agreement raises base pay to $6.50 per hour with pay commensurate with experience and includes: four crew meetings a year, employee-of-the-month recognition, anniversary pins, advance notice on procedure changes, weekly work schedules posted at least four days in advance, written performance reviews and paid one-week vacations for employees working 35 hours per week or more.

The story received national attention and more info can be found on news servers and AP.

The Ballad of Macedon-i-o

by Deborah Van Kleef

      Come all you fast food workers, wherever you may dwell
      If you'll consent to listen, a story I will tell
      Of six young workers like yourselves, who were compelled to go
      And labor for McDonald's in Macedon-i-o.

      In northeastern Ohio this burger franchise stood.
      As in many such establishments, conditions were not good.
      The wages they were meager, but by far the greatest woe
      Was to work for Jerry Guffey in Macedon-i-o.

      Now Jerry was the manager, a spiteful man was he.
      If ever you displeased him, his anger you would see.
      With foul names and shoves and shouting, his curses they would flow
      He was the meanest fast food boss in Macedon-i-o.

      Margaret she was sixty-six, she worked from need, not choice.
      One day she left a bag of trash out of its proper place.
      When Jerry came upon it, his rage did overflow.
      The staff looked on as Margaret wept, in Macedon-i-o.

      'Twas on an Easter Sunday student workers made a vow:
      "Abuse of youth and elderly no longer we'll allow."
      These brave young people left their jobs, their paychecks did forego,
      To walk upon a picket line in Macedon-i-o.

      Bryan Drapp walked out, and Jamal Nickens he did too.
      Josh Jones and Matt Casserlie, they joined the picket crew.
      Steve Stem and Heidi Shaffer solidarity did show.
      They led the fight for dignity in Macedon-i-o.

      From CNN to Leno, Howard Stern to NPR,
      The story of the fast food strike was carried near and far.
      McDonalds' high executives, to save the status quo,
      Sent in a crack consultant, to Macedon-i-o.

      Then Teamsters' Local Four One Six came to the strikers' aid.
      "These kids against your corporate might's an unfair fight," they said.
      "We're here to balance out the scales." The company said, "No!
      We will not talk with unions in Macedon-i-o."

      At Route Eight and the Interstate the strikers held their ground.
      They thrust aloft their picket signs as the April rains beat down.
      'Til a Teamster bakery driver, he dealt the final blow.
      He would not cross a picket line in Macedon-i-o.

      The bosses watched in horror as the truck it rolled away.
      They knew it carried all the buns they needed for that day.
      While twenty cheering picketers, still marching to and fro,
      Saw victory within their grasp in Macedon-i-o.

      A fair wage and paid vacation, better safety at the grill,
      In every point of bargaining the workers had their will.
      And to a training program Jerry Guffey's forced to go,
      To brush up on his people skills, in Macedon-i-o.

      You've heard of labor's struggles in the Harlan County hills,
      At Homestead, Flint and Ludlow, and the Massachusetts mills.
      In April nineteen ninety-eight, the history books will show
      How fast food workers held the line in Macedon-i-o.

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