Fast-food Workers on Strike to Protest Low Wages, Demand Raises

Monday, 29 Jul 2013 06:54 PM

By David Ogul

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Thousands of fast-food workers went on strike Monday as they walked off the job around the country to protest low wages and demand raises that would raise their pay to more than double the federal minimum wage.

McDonalds, KFC, and Wendy’s restaurants in New York, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., and Flint, Mich., were affected, according to Bloomberg News.

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Salon reported about the fast-food effort last November when a couple hundred low-wage workers went on strike in New York.

“They’re not paying us enough to survive,” McDonald’s worker Raymond Lopez told Salon at the time. “This company has enough money to pay us a reasonable amount for all that we do ... they’re just not going to give it to us as long as they can get away with it. I think we need to be heard.”

Since then, fast-food and retail workers have walked off the job in several other cities. The actions have been backed by the Service Employees International Union and call for a minimum pay of $15 per hour.

Fast-food cooks earn an average of $9.02 per hour, according to Bloomberg.

President Barack Obama has been calling for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour from the current $7.25, but his request has gone nowhere. Several states have set their minimum wage much higher than the federal rate, including California and Massachusetts at $8 per hour, Illinois at $8.25, Oregon at $8.95 and Washington at $9.19, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

New York City fast food workers made an average of $9 per hour last year, or $18,500 per year for a full-time worker, according to The Huffington Post. It takes $67,153 for a one-parent, one-child household to survive in the city, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

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