Dozens of workers at fast-food chains around Nashville are going on strike Thursday. The day marks the latest in a series of coordinated national events this year, and the first such strike in Nashville. Workers are calling to be paid $15 hourly.
Aaliyah Morris earns a little under half that at a McDonald’s in south Nashville. She’s also a student aspiring to become a pharmaceutical tech. But for now, the 19-year-old lives with—and helps out—her mom and three little brothers.
Morris says her mom works in fast-food too, and was actually the one to talk her into striking. In turn, she persuaded her best friend, who was hesitant at first.
“But then I talked to her about, well, would you just settle for $7.25? Are you worth $7.25, you know? And she thought about it and she called me, like, ‘I’m gonna go in with this. I thought about it, I’m not worth $7.25, I’m gonna do this. I think it’s right.’”
Morris admits she’s nervous about getting in trouble at work, but thinks it’s worth it.
The coordinated strike caps a year of escalating events in cities across the U.S. In August, the Service Employees International Union backed a similar national effort, when more than a thousand workers walked off the job.