By Katherine Hafner
The protesters – workers at fast food giants like Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell – hit the streets outside the stores during peak meal hours holding picket signs with slogans like “We Are Worth More,” and chanting things like “Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40 has got to go,” according to the New York Times.
The workers, who have been staging these one-day strikes in various cities, are demanding a wage of $15 an hour, almost twice what employers are required to pay them.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the minimum federal wage is $7.25 an hour. The New York Times reported that the median wage for a fast-food worker in the U.S. is $9.05 an hour, including those who have held their position for several years.
The movement’s reach across company and state boundaries is reminiscent
of the urge for widespread industry reform in the Occupy Wall Street
protests that began in 2011.
Called Fast Food Forward, or Fight for 15, depending on the location, the protests began months ago in New York and have since spread to Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Washington.
Organizers say their goal is to push Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and pressure state legislatures to raise state minimum wages, according to the New York Times.
Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association, told the Times that the one-day walkouts have not caused many restaurants to close.
“It is an effort to demonize the entire industry in order to make some organizing and political points,” he said.
Fast-food industry officials also say a wage as high as $15 could drive many restaurants out of business, even causing owners to hire fewer workers and replace some with automation services.
The minimum wage in California is $8 an hour.Tell us in the comments section below:
• Should fast food workers’ wages be raised, and if so, by how much?
• Do you think this movement will be effective?• Would you be willing to pay more for fast food to pay workers higher wages?