Thousands of fast food workers across the nation reportedly staged protests and drew dozens of arrests Thursday demanding a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
The rationale for higher pay is outlined as follows in an online petition to McDonald’s Wendy’s and Burger King restaurants, with nearly 10,000 signatures garnered thus far:
“I urge you to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour. It is outrageous that most of your full-time workers need to get public assistance to survive.
Fast-food jobs pay so little that 52 percent of the families of front-line fast food workers need to rely on public assistance programs, costing taxpayers nearly $7 billion a year.
Even at 40 hours a week, more than half of front-line fast-food workers are forced to rely on public assistance to cover basic needs like food, rent and healthcare. Compared to the overall economy, fast-food jobs are twice as likely as other jobs to pay so little that workers are forced to rely on public assistance.
We know that workers put their money right back into our economy. Increasing fast food workers’ wages to $15 an hour will not only help struggling families in community make ends meet, it will also spur economic growth. When fast food workers win, this will help lift up all low-wage workers, and improve our entire economy.”
Responding to Thursday’s protests, the National Restaurant Association fought back with the following statement:
“This is a national, multi-million dollar campaign engineered, organized and funded by national labor groups. The activities have proven to be orchestrated union PR events where the vast majority of participants are activists and paid demonstrators. This is nothing more than labor groups’ self-interested attempts to boost their dwindling membership by targeting restaurant employees. We hope labor organizers will not escalate with aggressive tactics or intimidation, and will act with respect toward our customers and employees.
Restaurants continue to be a critical employer that trains America’s workforce and provides a pathway towards upward mobility and success.”
Do you think fast food restaurants should pay workers $15 an hour (and if so, would you refuse to eat fast food until they do?)