Fast-food protests return

Workers across the country walked off their jobs to fight for a $15 an hour wage
Associated Press
Dec 5, 2013

Fast-food workers and labor organizers marched, waved signs and chanted in cities across the country on Thursday in a push for higher wages.

Organizers say employees planned to forgo work in 100 cities, with rallies set for another 100 cities. But by late afternoon, it was unclear what the actual turnout was or how many of the participants were workers. At targeted restaurants, the disruptions seemed minimal or temporary.

The protests are part of an effort that began about a year ago and is spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union, which has spent millions to bankroll local worker groups and organize publicity for the demonstrations. Protesters are calling for pay of $15 an hour, but the figure is seen more as a rallying point than a near-term possibility.

At a time when there's growing national and international attention on economic disparities, advocacy groups and Democrats are hoping to build public support to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25. That comes to about $15,000 a year for full-time work.

On Thursday, crowds gathered outside restaurants in cities including Boston, Lakewood, Calif., Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C., where protesters walked into a Burger King but didn't stop customers from getting their food.

In Detroit, about 50 demonstrators turned out for a pre-dawn rally in front of a McDonald's. A few employees said they weren't working but a manager and other employees kept the restaurant open.

Julius Waters, a 29-year-old McDonald's maintenance worker who was among the protesters, said it's hard making ends meet on his wage of $7.40 an hour.

"I need a better wage for myself, because, right now, I'm relying on aid, and $7.40 is not able to help me maintain taking care of my son. I'm a single parent," Waters said.

In New York City, about 100 protesters blew whistles and beat drums while marching into a McDonald's at around 6:30 a.m.; one startled customer grabbed his food and fled as they flooded the restaurant, while another didn't look up from eating and reading amid their chants of "We can't survive on $7.25!"

Community leaders took turns giving speeches for about 15 minutes until police arrived and ordered protesters out of the store. The crowd continued to demonstrate outside for about 45 minutes.

Later in the day, about 50 protesters rallied outside a Wendy's in Brooklyn. Channon Wetstone, a 44-year-old attorney ended up going to a nearby Burger King because of the protests.

She said fast-food employees work very hard. When asked if she'd be willing to pay more for food so they could earn more, she said it would depend on what she was ordering.

"I would say 50 cents, 75 cents more," Wetstone said.

The push for higher pay in fast food faces an uphill battle. The industry competes aggressively on being able to offer low-cost meals and companies have warned that they would need to raise prices if wages were hiked.

Fast-food workers have also historically been seen as difficult to unionize, given the industry's high turnover rates. But the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million workers in health care, janitorial and other industries, has helped put their wages in the spotlight.

Berlin Rosen, a political consulting and public relations firm based in New York City, is coordinating communications efforts and connecting organizers with media outlets. The firm says its clients are the coalitions in each city, such as Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15. Those groups were established with the help of the SEIU, which is also listed on Berlin Rosen's website as a client.

The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, said most protesters were union workers and that "relatively few" restaurant employees have participated in past actions. It called the demonstrations a "campaign engineered by national labor groups."

McDonald's, Wendy's and Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, said in statements that their restaurants create work opportunities and provide training and the ability to advance. Burger King reissued its statement on past protests, saying its restaurants have provided an entry point into the workforce for millions of Americans.

In the meantime, the protests are getting some high-powered support from the White House. In an economic policy speech Wednesday, President Barack Obama mentioned fast-food and retail workers "who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty" in his call for raising the federal minimum wage.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised a vote on the wage hike by the end of the year. But the measure is not expected to gain traction in the House, where Republican leaders oppose it.

Supporters of wage hikes have been more successful at the state and local level. California, Connecticut and Rhode Island raised their minimum wages this year. Last month, voters in New Jersey approved an increase in the minimum to $8.25 an hour, up from $7.25 an hour.




Re: "I do think that $15 per hour is an unrealistic request. Obama's suggestion of around $10/hr. is a better idea."

Keepin' the working man down? For shame!

Turn in your progressive card.

Wanna end unemployment tomorrow? Eliminate the min. wage.

The reversion will be to the mean and those who are productive will be valued and compensated accordingly.

Min. wage and unions are protection for the unproductive.

Unfortunately, central planners like yourself hate the free market and believe that a highly controlled economy is best - hence the malinvestments and unintended consequences.

Even more authoritarian laws will help fix the previous authoritarian laws that aren't working, right?


Re: "under-education of the poor, since they typically vote to cut funding of education at the local and state level."

So increased funding will overcome the disastrous national HS drop-out rate?

There's a reason why the word "self" is in the term self-motivation.

Like most liberals, you're blind to what behavior it is that you are rewarding.

If you want more of it, just keep rewarding it.


Look no further than the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as proof that throwing more money at education doesn't usually end with better results.

Dr. Information

If one is making 300 a week, why is that our problem? Shouldn't that be motivation to look for better paying work or here is an idea, get an education. If one is making 300 dollars a week they shouldn't be having children because they simply will not be able to take care of them.

You are full of excuses, thats it coasterfan. Excuse after excuse. Of course I see why you think you are right. You are a retired teacher? You are from the occupation that if something isn't right, you just throw more tax payers money at it and all will be good. If that doesn't fix it, you just ask for more. Look around pal, its not working.
Outside of the communist manifesto that Im sure you had your kids recite every single day, what part of minimum wage do you not understand?


Re: "Shouldn't that be motivation to look for better paying work,"

Good point!

"McJobs" should pay $72K annually ($15/hr x 1440 hrs).

That'll help to LOCK 'em into low skilled jobs for the rest of their lives - SMART!


coasterfan re. "since they typically vote to cut funding of education at the local and state level"

I have never seen proof that more money equals a better education.

No student left behind was a bipartisan bill signed by President Bush and was meant to close the gap between the top and bottom students. It was to bring the bottom students up a few notches.

In an article I read in one of my Mensa Research Journal issues the study showed that in lieu of offering additional assistance to the lower group of students to close the gap it was easier for the teachers to just spend less attention to the upper group of students ergo they closed the gap by bringing the top down in lieu of raising the lower group up.

Dr. Information

In all reality. The US has been throwing more and more money at education and we are behind the ball. More money isn't the answer.


Re: "under-education of the poor,"

Continue to focus on the wrong end of the problem.

So your answer is increased funding for more mush-headed, feel-good, liberal public education?

"Shanghai teens top international education ranking, OECD says":

And then the dumbed-down progressives stupidly wonder why the world is "eating our lunch."


I worked two jobs for the first twenty three years after high school. Wife has always worked and raised a family. If you want to provide for them, you do what you have to do. We are in a position now that I can retire in another year and she doesn't work any more. You always mention the conservatives, but I guess working two jobs is not a standard that libs want to think about. Therefore, stay on food stamps.


Coasterfan:"I worked hard during HS and worked hard during college, and as a result, have always had the training that allowed me to get higher-paying jobs."

Thank you for proving our point.


What a bunch of crybabies! Why not just have a kid or two and get everything for free? Welfare is more profitable than minimum wage anyways. Less is more these days....thanks Obama, you are great! Or wait, isn't it Bushs fault? I can't keep up. But it is NOT the workers fault, they are victims and entitled to $15.00/hr. Poor poor burger flipping drop-outs. Yes I do want fries with that nucca!

Dr. Information

Exactly. Job pay is related to skill set. It takes one more than likely less than an hour to be trained to be a burger flipper at McD's. Same as lawn care. Get in a truck, drive to a house, hop on a mower, turn it on and mow. Its not rocket science.

I know a very smart and rich man who went to school and got his business degree and then masters. His starting job was an errand boy for a large firm out of Dallas. A better job opened up within the company and he moved up. 10 years later, he is at the top. He always tells me that people today just don't get it, they want everything handed to them with minimal effort. Moral to the story: If you do not like where you are, its in your hands to change that. No excuses.


Re: "If you do not like where you are, its in your hands to change that."

Unemployment in ND is 2.7%.

The Bakken area is goin' NUTZ!

Drive, borrow the money, hitch hike - whateveryagottado - get there!

Or instead, just sit where you are and b*tch and moan about how unfair life is.

"I bargained with Life for a penny,":


LOL. Most of those complaining wouldn't do the back breaking work of a crew member on an oil rig. They want a roughneck's pay but they don't want to work to hard for it. But hey, burger flipping is hard manual labor don't ya know?


Re: "oil rig."

True. But there are thousands of other ancillary jobs to be had flipping that probably pay more than $15/hr.

Supply and demand.

But, but it's TOO cold in ND...whaa, whaa.

I'll have to leave my family and friends...whaa, whaa.

And then the same bozos b*tch about Mexes coming up to the U.S. and stealing jobs. lol

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

A few of the guys from the store's community went there to work and are pulling down six figures a year. Fast food places and Walmarts are paying at LEAST 15/hour with several thousand dollar signing bonuses to compete.


Are you telling me that the job fairy didn't bring him his job? Or the often spoke of never actually seen "Silver Spoon"?


LOL. You are right though, nearly everyone on here showing their envy of people who make more than them just can't help but to throw out the excuse that the person was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Apparently,you can't get ahead by hard work and preparation only by having things given to you. The ignorance of these people is overwhelming.


I keep putting my resume under my pillow at night! no luck! Get up, go to work, do what you're told, and do it to the best of your ability. Opportunities knock everyday, if you're too lazy to get up and answer the door, you can only blame yourself. Hard work is what built this country, not handouts.


Once again people who don't want to work and want to get everything. I have over 25 years of succesful management experience and have been laid off and I can't find a job that pays even $12 hr. and these people want $15, fire them all and get people who want to work for their wages. The problem is that in today's world people are believing in "Entitlement", they are entitled to this and that but don't want to work for it.

The New World Czar

OK, for those of you unabashed wealth distributors...let's do a little reality math.

CEO of McDonald's makes approximately $20.7 million this past year. McDonald's employs approximately 1.9 million people company wide. Let's say now in the spirit of the season, the CEO decides to distribute 50% of the compensation back to the employees. Do the math...this comes out to $5.45/year per employee. Divide it by a 52 hour work week and you get $0.105/week. Divide it by 40 hours per week and you get $0.0026/hour.

So, again, in the name of social justice- how much will a happy meal cost if these wages go up to $15/hour from $7.25/hr?


"CEO of McDonald's makes approximately $20.7 million this past year. McDonald's employs approximately 1.9 million people company wide"

You do realize that over 95% of McDonald's restaurants are franchises? Do you know that franchises are owned and run by the owner of the franchise and he is the one who pays the burger flippers, not the CEO. The owner of the franchise pays Mcdonalds for the study for finding where they can build a store, the design of the store, the equipment in the store, the food brought to the store,the paper products, and nearly everything that isprovided to the store... or at least the franchise has to buy them from whonm the corporate tells them to or else they can't use the McDonald's name. The rate of pay is up to the franchise owner, not the CEO. Your example leaves that out of the equation. Corporate McDonalds doesn't care what the franchise owner pays... as long as it is a legal pay scale. Sorry to include inconvenient facts that make your example moot.

Look up what it takes to buy a McDonald's franchise... it ain't cheap, it ain't easy to comply with all the regulations the corporate require you to follow to use the McDonald's name.

Dr. Information

Andddd franchise owners only profit 10% of sales on avg. depending on the location.

The New World Czar

No arguing the mootness of the comparison. It was to give an idea that the living wage increase is going to translate into charging huge $$$ for meals...and sooner than later demand for the inflated product goes down, and so do the franchisees.

Do the math a different way- an increase of $7.75 per hour for the 1.9 million employees means an hourly increase of nearly $15 million, or $589 million per week ($30.6 billion per year). Hey, if GM can get sunk by its own weight, why not McD's? Better yet, BHO would bail them out and have them all unionize with the UFCW or SEIU. Nah, even he'd get stopped by his arugula-promoting wife.


Ding fries are done....ding fries are done....


Would you like an apple pie with that?




Vicariously alive are they hiring were you work? I know a single mom that would want the job you described at $15.00 per hour. Give us details please.


Figures don't lie. Liars figure. thanxs fn.


Knew it...stinkin snow crickets!