Fast food workers were joined by thousands of other protestors from New York to San Francisco on Wednesday, as they rallied in front of fast food restaurants and on college campuses to fight for higher wages.
The protests for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for fast food workers, led by the Service Employees International Union, spread to 226 cities from coast to coast in what organizers are calling the largest movement of its kind.
Jorge Math, a McDonald’s cashier who makes $8.75 an hour, told the USA Today he and his coworkers deserved more for their hard work.
“We are the backbones of these fast-food restaurants, and I believe that we should be more rewarded. Most of us have to get a second job so we can sustain ourselves.”
In New York, at least one McDonald’s was shut down by protesters, while others only had their drive-throughs working. In San Francisco protesters surrounded a Mission District McDonald’s, according to the Inquisitr.
The fast food labor movement that started two years ago has grown to include adjunct college professors, airport workers, Wal-Mart employees, and home and child care providers.
Organizers are calling the protests the largest economic and racial justice movement ever in America.
The fast food strikes on Wednesday were designed to coincide with tax day, as protesters argue many full time minimum wage employees are forced to rely on government assistance to survive.
More and more minimum wage workers are the primary breadwinners for their family, Robert Reich, a professor at University of California at Berkeley and former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, told Kron 4.
“When employers are not paying their employees enough to get them and their families out of poverty, the rest of us are obligated to pay additional taxes to support food stamps, Medicaid and other public assistance. In a way, our tax dollars are subsidies for McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and other companies that refuse to take that responsibility. The moral issue is clear. No one who is working full-time in America should be in poverty.”
The worker’s movement does appear to be making some gains, as more companies bow to political pressure and increase wages for their lowest paid workers.
McDonald’s recently announced it would increase wages and paid time off for workers at company restaurants. Retail giant Wal-Mart also increased employee wages, and Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle has said his company will follow suit, according to MLive.
Meanwhile, San Francisco residents voted to increase their city’s minimum wage to $15 over three years, and Oakland workers saw their wages rise to $12 an hour this year.