The Fight for $15 movement in the United States, in which workers seek a living wage and a union, is part of a global struggle by fast food workers often employed by the same multinational corporations that make massive profits even as their employees struggle to get by.
In Thailand, Apantree Charoensak, a former union leader who led the campaign to organize fast food workers at KFC, describes on this week’s Solidarity Center Podcast how workers overcame the company’s opposition to successfully form a union and win better wages and working conditions.
“The company knew that if the demands were successful, it would impact 70 percent of the workers which, back then, there were about 18,000 workers. So they pressured and threatened me a lot,” she tells podcast host and Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau. “They said they would get me out of the company, if I still tried to help other workers.”
Charoensak says the campaign drew lessons from the U.S. Fight for $15 campaign throughout the years-long effort to form a union.
“It took six years from [when] the union was first organized until we reached the threshold of 20 percent because in Thailand, the law requires that you have to reach over 20 percent of all the workforce before you can file for collective bargaining.”
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The Solidarity Center Podcast, “Billions of Us, One Just Future,” highlights conversations with workers (and other smart people) worldwide shaping the workplace for the better.