The fast-food strike has expanded to 50 cities nationwide. The employees are protesting against low wages. Thousands of protesters are demanding livable wages and the right join labor unions.
The average fast-food employee makes about $9 per hour. For many, the wages do not cover basic living expenses. The employees are asking for a starting wage of $15 per hour.
Despite their high demands, some fast-food employees are willing to settle for a more modest increase in wages.
As reported by Bloomberg, Wendy’s employee Antoine McKinney supports himself and his 4-year-old son on $8.35 per hour:
“I struggle paying my bills… Even if we were getting paid $10 an hour, that would be better.”
The Service Employees International Union supports the fast-food employees’ protest. President Mary Kay Henry explains why the organization got involved:
“What the workers are trying to do is hold the corporations accountable… Franchisees are not part of the problem… We want to go to the source, which is the multinational corporations that own these franchise relationships.”
The SEUI has provided employees with information, assistance, and funding to hold the protests.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez supports the protest. He says the fast-food strike underlines an urgency to raise the minimum wage.
As reported by Fox News, Perez feels the current minimum wage lowers the standard of living and limits opportunity.
Representatives with McDonald’s Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. contend that they have no control over employee wages. Like most fast-food giants, each location is a franchise.
Employee wages are determined by the independent franchisees.
Critics argue that corporations could reduce the charges imposed on franchisees. However, lowering the charges could reduce their profits.
The protesters may not get the wages they are requesting. However, they are raising awareness about the issue. If nothing else, the fast-food strike may encourage an increase in the minimum wage.
[Image via Flickr]