Fast-food strikes set for cities nationwide

Walkout planned Thursday to push chains to pay workers higher wages
Associated Press
Aug 28, 2013

Fast-food customers in search of burgers and fries on Thursday might run into striking workers instead.

Organizers say thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities around the country, part of a push to get chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to pay workers higher wages.

It's expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200 of the nation's millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities.

Thursday's planned walkouts follow a series of strikes that began last November in New York City, then spread to cities including Chicago, Detroit and Seattle. Workers say they want $15 an hour, which would be about $31,000 a year for full-time employees. That's more than double the federal minimum wage, which many fast food workers make, of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year.

The move comes amid calls from the White House, some members of Congress and economists to hike the federal minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. But most proposals seek a far more modest increase than the ones workers are asking for, with President Barack Obama wanting to boost it to $9 an hour.

The push has brought considerable media attention to a staple of the fast-food industry — the so-called "McJobs" that are known for their low pay and limited prospects. But the workers taking part in the strikes still represent a tiny fraction of the broader industry. And it's not clear if the strikes on Thursday will shut down any restaurants because organizers made their plans public earlier in a call for workers around the country to participate, which gave managers time to adjust their staffing levels. More broadly, it's not clear how many customers are aware of the movement, with turnout for past strikes relatively low in some cities.

Laila Jennings, a 29-year-old sales associate at T.J. Maxx, was eating at a McDonald's in New York City this week and said she hadn't heard of the movement. Still, she said she thinks workers should be paid more. "They work on their feet all day," Jennings said, adding that $12 to $15 an hour seemed fair.

As it stands, fast-food workers say they can't live on what they're paid.

Shaniqua Davis, 20, lives in the Bronx with her boyfriend, who is unemployed, and their 1-year-old daughter. Davis has worked at a McDonald's a few blocks from her apartment for the past three months, earning $7.25 an hour. Her schedule varies, but she never gets close to 40 hours a week. "Forty? Never. They refuse to let you get to that much hours."

Her weekly paycheck is $150 or much lower. "One of my paychecks, I only got $71 on there. So I wasn't able to do much with that. My daughter needs stuff, I need to get stuff for my apartment," said Davis, who plans to take part in the strike Thursday.

She pays the rent with public assistance but struggles to afford food, diapers, subway and taxi fares, cable TV and other expenses with her paycheck.

"It's really hard," she said. "If I didn't have public assistance to help me out, I think I would have been out on the street already with the money I make at McDonald's."

McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. say that they don't make decisions about pay for the independent franchisees that operate the majority of their U.S. restaurants.

For the restaurants it does own, McDonald's said in a statement that pay starts at minimum wage but the range goes higher, depending on the employee's position and experience level. It said that raising entry-level wages would mean higher overall costs, which could result in higher prices on menus.

"That would potentially have a negative impact on employment and business growth in our restaurants, as well as value for our customers," the company said in a statement.

The Wendy's Co. and Yum Brands Inc., which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, did not respond to a request for comment.

The National Restaurant Association says the low wages reflect the fact that most fast-food workers tend to be younger and have little work experience. Scott DeFife, a spokesman for the group, says that doubling wages would hurt job creation, noting that fast-food chains are already facing higher costs for ingredients, as well as new regulations that will require them to pay more in health care costs.

Still, the actions are striking a chord in some corners.

Robert Reich, a worker advocate and former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, said that the struggles of living on low wages is hitting close to home for many because of the weak economic climate.

"More and more, people are aware of someone either in their wider circle of friends or extended family who has fallen on hard times," Reich said.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which is providing the fast-food strikes with financial support and training, said the actions in recent months show that fast-food workers can be mobilized, despite the industry's relatively higher turnover rates and younger age.

"The reality has totally blown through the obstacles," she said.

 

Comments

AJ Oliver

Would you cold-hearted anonymous cowards post the same drivel if you had to put your names on them? It's just amazing how the One % has succeeded in turning us against each other. Austrailia's minimum wage is already $ 15 per hour, not to mention the paid sick days, holidays and vacations they get - AND health care. People who work hard and produce deserve a living wage !!!

Mystery_Cheese

A lot of these people don't work hard. If your job is only giving you around 20 hours a week, either get a second job, or find a job that will allow you to get 40 hours a week.

The lady in this article stated that she never gets 40 hours at McDonald's, and that her boyfriend is unemployed. Howabout a second job, and tell your boyfriend to get a job? Or even better, don't start pumping out babies until you know you can support them. Then again, that'd take personal responsibility and discipline, which a lot of people don't have.

I work very hard as a manager at my job, and I only make $11.50 an hour, with no benefits. I'm not sitting here whining, or going on strike. Instead, I'm working on bettering myself in order to get a better, higher paying job in the future. I also refuse to have kids until I'm able to support them, so I keep it in my pants, like a responsible, logical adult.

2cents

: )

2cents

And how much would you buy this for in the US?

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Avery...

Stop It

YGBFSM...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I see this every day in the shop. There is a very popular tabletop war game called Warhammer 40,000. The vast majority of products are manufactured in the U.K. and the price reflects their payroll, manufacturing/environmental regulations, etc. as well as cost to ship from the island. In fact in Australia the price difference is the worst. Conversions provided by www.xe.com and are current as of this post.

Product: Ork Boyz (this is a bread and butter unit you'd need multiples of in an army) http://www.games-workshop.com/gw...

U.S. Dollar $29.00
Australian Dollar $48.00 = $42.87 USD
GB Pound £18.00 = $27.91 USD

Product: Landraider Cusader/Redeemer (this is a specialty unit that hits hard, usually one per army can be seen) http://www.games-workshop.com/gw...

U.S. Dollar $74.25
Australian Dollar $110.00 = $98.23 USD
GB Pound £45.00 = $69.76 USD

Mystery_Cheese

Also, comparing Australia's economy, a country with around 25 million people, to the U.S.'s, a country with around 300 million people, just doesn't work.

Nemesis

Fine, then move to Australia.

Same question as for Dog, AJ. In your world, at what point do individuals bear any responsibility for their own needs and situation? You rant about "the 1%" as if they are the only ones with any responsibility - why should 1% be responsible for the other 99%?

ladydye_5

YES I will put my NAME....My name is DIANE DARLING...I am married to a VETERAN who when we were newlyweds and he was in the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS he made LESS THAN $15 an hour. He served his country. He went into harms way when he was told and slept with bullets flying over his head. You are saying that people who work for McDonalds or Wendy's flipping burgers and mopping floors should be making more than someone who signs the dotted line to defend our country. They are cooking a hamburger (a pre-made, frozen patty) for heavens sake, this is not rocket science.

The Big Dog's back

How long ago was that?

ladydye_5

Using the Jan 2013 pay table....an E-3 with 2+ years of service would make about 1899. a month....that would be roughly 22788.00 a YEAR. Hazard Duty pay you can add $150 a month that you are in country. That is WAY less than the 31K the striking fast food workers are demanding. So to answer your question my husbands pay would have been even LESS than that, 20 years ago.

The Big Dog's back

Doesn't room and board, medical and dental, vacation, etc. go on top of that?

ladydye_5

Not always no. And I am not even going to try and explain to you. That is what most people want to believe.

The Big Dog's back

Well ya see I know many people who had a military career, so you wouldn't be explaining anything to me because I already know. Just wanted to see how truthful you would be, but you had a big FAIL.

SamAdams

Would I say the same thing to your face (or anybody else's)? In a minute, because I'm right. The truth hurts.

Meanwhile, if you can afford to pay $8.50 for a Big Mac or $5.00 for a cup of Mickey D's coffee, then YOU must be among your much-loathed 1%. The rest of us? Not so much...

People who work hard and produce are people who end up bettering themselves and their skill set, which results in better jobs and higher wages. People who are illiterate (as stated in the article), push out babies they can't afford, are unemployed so can sit home and watch cable TV all day (which is an unnecessary expense if you're really talking about cutting back) DON'T get better jobs, nor do they deserve to.

The Big Dog's back

So which right wing mouth piece used the Big Mac as an example? Why don't they use that as an example when talking about CEO pay?

SamAdams

Actually, Rush Limbaugh used it yesterday. But if you check the time stamp on my posting, you'll note that I was first. :-)

The Big Mac analogy is, of course, pretty obvious since McDonald's is the franchise most mentioned in the news stories about the demands, the fizzled strike, etc.

Contango

Re: "Austrailia's (sp) minimum wage is already $ 15 per hour,"

When's the plane leaving to take 'em?

So when are you starting a business and paying a "living wage," plus top knotch health & welfare bennies?

I never eat the sh*t. Pay 'em $50/hr. for all I (bleepin') care.

arnmcrmn

This is what will happen if these places cave in and raise the pay to $15.00 an hour.

That VALUE meal will no longer be a value meal and will run you about 10-12 bucks for a #1. Now to take your family of 4 to McDonalds, its going to run you anywhere from $40-55 dollars.....for fast food.

At that price, they will 100% see a decline in revenue as people cannot afford to swing into McDonalds and drop 1/3 of their pay for that day on fast food.

What comes next.....laying people off because those burger flippers are sitting in the back collect that $15.00 an hour they wanted, but the fryers and grills are frying and grilling like they use to be.

Whats next...more people on unemployment and Obama gets on national TV and tells everyone how these people deserve $15.00 an hour to flip burgers and that McDonalds (and all others listed) should be ashamed of their actions.

Followed up by coasterfan, big dog, deertracker getting on the SR forum and bashing cooperate America for being so greedy.

Smcc Student

Beautiful point, It's Dems such as the ones you mentioned at the bottom of your post who fail to realize the consequences if infact the wages were increased to $15/hr.

They live in their own world, really no point in trying to explain to them basic economics. Afterall, to liberals, "Government creates business".

The Big Dog's back

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., gave Thompson a package worth $13.8 million, up from the $4.1 million he received in 2011, according to a regulatory filing Friday.
Skinner, who had been CEO since 2004, was among the group of executives that designed the plan.

In 2012, his pay package went up to $27.7 million from $8.8 million the year before, reflecting a $10.2 million payment as part of his retirement under his contract agreement.

How much did the Big Mac go up with these pay raises?

Nemesis

See below, Dog, for why your assertions fail to make a point.

Nemesis

See below, Dog, for why your assertions fail to make a point.

Nemesis

See below, Dog, for why your assertions fail to make a point.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

If I remember correctly, McDonald's cancelled the Angus line because the cost of a $6-7 burger was too much for most of their customers. That explains their cheaper, dressed up QPCs.

Smcc Student

Question 1: I really hope there are not people ACTUALLY in favor of these workers getting $15/hr plus... Yea it sucks getting minimum but the work done in fast food service is deffinetly not worth paying some $15...

Question 2: "She pays the rent with public assistance but struggles to afford food, diapers, subway and taxi fares, cable TV and other expenses with her paycheck."....

Why is this woman complaining about not being able to pay for cable tv?
She has been employed at Micky D's for ONLY 3 WEEKS and is already groaning for a %200 + raise!!!! INSANITY!!!! She's 20 years old, has a 1 year old kid, and lives with her UNEMPLOYED boyfriend, and on public assistance.. and she wants TV? The attitudes of our generation are infecting people throughout the world. What happened to those individuals who worked hard for what they got, did not complain for wage increases, especially when they DO NOT deserve them. The people who saved their money and would not buy things they did not NEED.

Those people are just about extinct, it is unfortunate and sad to see.

Mystery_Cheese

Who else will babysit the kid if they don't have T.V.? The unemployed boyfriend? Doubt it. To think, people lived for thousands of years without television, and now some people consider it a necessity.

Nemesis

Pay is based on skills.

Pay is based on how uniquely you are able or willing to do the job. At family-owned fast food and casual dining places like CiCi's and Ponderosa, I've seen the owner's 8 year old demonstrate a higher level of skill and responsibility than the 16-22 year olds with whom she was working. In one case, the eight year old was running the register because it was an old mechanical one, and she was the only employee who could make change. If you can't even make change without the register telling you the amount, then you should be ashamed to even ask for the current minimum wage. Jeff Foxworthy had a game show called "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" and it was astounding to see that there were people willing to show the nation that they were not. If a SECOND grader can outperform someone, what does that say about what is appropriate compensation?

The Big Dog's back

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., gave Thompson a package worth $13.8 million, up from the $4.1 million he received in 2011, according to a regulatory filing Friday.
Skinner, who had been CEO since 2004, was among the group of executives that designed the plan.

In 2012, his pay package went up to $27.7 million from $8.8 million the year before, reflecting a $10.2 million payment as part of his retirement under his contract agreement.

sham adams, how much did the Big Mac go up with these pay raises?

The Big Dog's back

Why are people always concerned about the lowest paying jobs and not the high level pay?

Pages