Thousands of fast food workers and retail store employees staged protests nationwide Thursday in aim to significantly increase their wage.
As early as 6 o’clock in the morning, more than a hundred of fast food workers gathered outside McDonald’s stores in several cities across the country to stage a protest where the protesters sang their own “Christmas jingle” versions.
This latest sting of minimum wage earners’ protest is to renew their call for a higher federal minimum wage. The said strike follows an earlier nationwide protest of Walmart workers before and during Black Friday.
As of the moment, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25. Strikers claimed during their strike that they can’t survive on such a minimum wage thus they demand for a $15 increase in the federal minimum wage.
Protesters also demand for their rights to unionize without management reprisals during the one-day labor walk out that was spread to several cities in Chicago, New York, Washington, Michigan, California, among others.
Meanwhile, as an immediate response to the said nationwide protest, the industry claimed that fast food is a price sensitive labor sector. Therefore, such a significant increase in wages would be difficult and complicated.
Aside from calling for an increased wage, the protesters also hope that this most recent nationwide protest would draw more support from lawmakers.
Recently, President Barack Obama has already expressed his support for a democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Also, last year, several states like California, Connecticut and Rhode Island have raised their minimum wage. The same effort was likewise followed by New Jersey and Washington.
Unfortunately, so far, the average pay for the fast food workers nationwide is just a little more than $9 an hour or approximately $18,000 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than the federal standard poverty income threshold level of $23,000 a year for a family of four.
“See Los Angeles as an example. The city’s absolutely high cost of living plus the increased consumer prices are an added burden for lower wage earners. If you are a family of four and you live in a place where the cost of living is pretty high, definitely you won’t make it unless you turn into some sort of public assistance,” said the employment lawyer.