Fast-food workers stage largest protests yet


NEW YORK (AP) — Fast-food workers in dozens of U.S. cities walked off the job Thursday in their largest round of protests yet, saying they cannot get by on what they earn and must have higher wages.

Similar protests organized by unions and community groups over the past several months have drawn attention to fast-food “McJobs,” known for low pay and limited prospects.

Thursday’s effort to stage a nationwide day of protest by thousands of workers reached about 60 cities including New York, Chicago and Detroit, organizers said. But the turnout varied significantly, with some targeted restaurants operating relatively normally and others temporarily shutting down because they had too few employees.

Ryan Carter, a 29-year-old who bought a $1 cup of coffee at a New York McDonald’s that was targeted by protesters, said he “absolutely” supported the demand for higher wages.

“They work harder than the billionaires in this city,” he said. But Carter said he didn’t plan to stop his regular trips to McDonald’s.

Advocates for a higher minimum wage note that jobs in low-wage industries have led the economic recovery. That makes it crucial that those jobs pay enough for workers who support families.

The restaurant industry says it already operates on thin margins and insists that sharply higher wages would lead to steeper prices for customers and fewer opportunities for job seekers.

In New York, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined about 300 to 400 workers and supporters Thursday in a march before the group flooded into a McDonald’s near the Empire State Building. Shortly after the demonstration, however, the restaurant seemed to be operating normally, and a few customers said they hadn’t heard of the movement. The same was true at a McDonald’s a few blocks away.

The lack of public awareness illustrates the challenge workers face in building wider support. Participating workers, who are asking for $15 an hour and the right to unionize without interference from employers, still represent a tiny fraction of the industry.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which works out to about $15,000 a year for full-time employees.

The quest for better pay comes as the White House, some members of Congress and economists seek to raise the federal minimum wage. But most proposals are for a more modest increase, with President Barack Obama suggesting $9 an hour.

The Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million workers in health care, janitorial and other industries, has been providing financial support and training for local organizers in the fast-food strikes around the country.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

New store pursues location in Bethel Township
New store pursues location in Bethel Township

Dollar General attempted to secure a spot in Bethel Twp. in 2015, but concerned residents halted the attempt. Now Dollar General is back, once again looking to build but this time along West National Road in Springfield. Residents originally did not support the building of a Dollar General store in the farmland area originally proposed due to concerns...
Clean audit issued for Clark County economic development nonprofit
Clean audit issued for Clark County economic development nonprofit

A recent report from the Ohio Auditor of State showed a clean audit after a review of the Community Improvement Corp. of Springfield-Clark County. Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office is responsible for auditing all public entities in Ohio. The CIC’s finances are audited annually and it’s been several years since any issues have been...
Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually
Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually

Chipotle is grappling with more cases of foodborne illness, an issue that causes one in six Americans to get sick annually after consuming contaminated foods or beverages. The company’s stock has taken a hit this week following foodborne illness issues at a restaurant in Virginia and a report of rodents scurrying around at one of their restaurants...
Chipotle food issues: Does your local restaurant have violations?
Chipotle food issues: Does your local restaurant have violations?

Chipotle’s stock has taken a hit this week following foodborne illness issues at a restaurant in Virginia and a report of rodents scurrying around one of their restaurants in Texas. Chipotle executives told Business Insider that the chain temporarily closed a restaurant in Sterling, Va., after a small number of customers reported symptoms like...
Air Force awards big contract to UDRI
Air Force awards big contract to UDRI

The University of Dayton Research Institute has received a seven-year, $43 million Air Force contract to develop nonmetal materials for airplanes, spacecraft and ground vehicles. Researchers at UDRI’s campus and at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will investigate adhesives, sealants, elastomers, textiles,...
More Stories