Protests Held Over Fast Food Wages

Posted on: 5:48 am, December 5, 2013, by , updated on: 01:30pm, December 5, 2013

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Fast food protests aren’t going away.

Organizers say fast food restaurant workers in 100 U.S. cities, including Cleveland, will walk off the job Thursday, as part of a continuing push to raise wages above $15 an hour in the industry and secure the right to unionize.

Cleveland community organizations, labor groups and faith leaders gathered at noon outside the McDonald’s on Memphis Avenue.

No workers were in attendance, only those advocating for them.

“Their work is valued, there is a support group here.  We do want to bring awareness to the fact that they are being paid poverty wages,” said Pam Rosado.  “And work should be respected and should be paid well, at least a livable wage.”

The movement began with a small walkout in New York City last year and has since gathered momentum. Strikes this past August drew fast food workers in 60 cities, organizers said.

The National Restaurant Association contends that the demonstrations are a “coordinated PR campaign engineered by national labor groups,” and that “relatively few restaurant workers have participated” in past demonstrations.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the events planned for Thursday “are not strikes,” and consist only of outside groups “traveling to McDonald’s and other outlets to stage rallies.”

Industry officials have criticized the campaign, claiming increased starting wages will hold back job growth and increase prices.

The effort has drawn support from the Service Employees International Union, one of the country’s largest, as well as activist groups. A MoveOn.org petition that has drawn nearly 50,000 online signatures calls on industry leaders “to pay your workers $15 an hour so they can make ends meet and Americans can stop paying for the hidden costs of poverty wages.”

In Congress, a group of 53 lawmakers sent letters Wednesday expressing support for higher wages to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King and Yum! Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

“We are proud to stand with workers who continue to fight for an economy that works for everyone,” the officials wrote.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said Wednesday that the company is “committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed,” offering competitive pay, training and the chance for advancement. Wendy’s said it was proud to give entry-level employees “the opportunity to learn important business and personal skills so they can either grow with us or move on to another career.”

Domino’s rejected the “fast food” label, and said only three of its employees had taken part in the August protests, none of whom were scheduled to work at the time. The pizza maker said its delivery drivers make more than minimum wage with tips included, and that it serves as a second job for many employees who work only evenings and weekends.

“90 percent of our U.S. franchisees started as delivery drivers or at in-store positions,” as did many other managers and corporate staff members, spokesman Tim McIntyre said. “We are a company of opportunity.”

The other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

President Obama also called out the plight of fast food workers in a speech Wednesday, saying they “work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty.” He said it was “past time” to raise the minimum wage.

A report released in October by the University of California-Berkeley Labor Center and the University of Illinois found that 52% of families of fast food workers receive some form of public assistance. The report estimated that this aid carries a $7 billion annual price tag for taxpayers.

The median pay for the fast food workers nationwide is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

The rallies planned for Thursday follow protests last week at a number of Wal-Mart locations, where workers and activists have called on the company to grant workers more hours and pay full-time employees at least $25,000 a year.

–By James O’Toole, CNN

–FOX 8 contributed to this CNN report

60 comments

  • HelloLady says:

    Lol above $15.00 are these uneducated for real. Companies need to quit hiring high school drop outs and min wage is your class level

    • Eric Thompson says:

      I used to work for minimum wage, funny, I wanted to make more money so I went back to school so I could get a better job. That’s what’s great about America you can do anything you want here, you just need to want to work. On the other hand, do I really want to pay for McDonalds fat pill or pay the same price at a nice restaurant, hummm let me guess…

      • Rich Harris says:

        What all of you people don’t understand is the major corporations in this country have outsourced their high paying factory jobs to other countries and replaced good workers with automation. These are the people who are now vying for the fast food jobs that used to be beginner’s jobs for high school students. Many are older workers not quite ready for social security so they have to find something.

    • Brandon says:

      I hope they automate these jobs… I’m working on plans for the last few years to do this and it would make me filthy rich!

    • Bright Star says:

      Hello Lady, you need to reread your comment. Then really think about the fact that you called *the fast food workers* uneducated.

  • While the minimum wage does need to be raised, raising it to $15.00 would be idiotic because just by raising it you’d have to print more money to pay them. Inflation anybody
    ?

    • Leslie says:

      To miss lady who thinks all fast food wkers are uneducated. I am a clever grad & well educated. Your statement alone proves whatever education you got must have failed you. As well as having some class you can’t be tought that you either have it or not. You my dear do not. Next time you swing by ur local fast food spot we’ll b thinking of u.

      • Howard Belcher says:

        “…I am a clever grad & well educated….whatever education you got must have failed you. … swing by ur local fast food spot we’ll b thinking of u.”

        Wow.. talk about the pot calling the kettle black…. Leslie… if you you “got” education, you sure are not using it and that is most likely why you are stuck at a fast food place.

        Don’t be holding your breath for me to come through “ur” place, because I don’t eat at fast food places… ever.

  • Seth Marcum says:

    Raising minimum wage would only cause companies to inflate their prices and cut more jobs to be able to afford to have these workers so in the end there are even less jobs and there is no real increase to their standard of living because prices would have to increase at an almost equal rate to balance out the new, much higher, cost of production.

  • Joe Code stud says:

    Maintenance technicians in downtown cleveland start at $10 an hour for places like the Bingham or the Bridgeview or east 4th street buildings. Now that’s a big shame. These are plumbers and electricians and carpenters. They deserve a living wage. Some fancy buildings only pays $10 an hour for trained techs who were earning $20 hour fifteen years ago. And they have to be janitors too.

  • Fiona says:

    Let the fast-food workers have their higher wages – prices for fast-food meals can then be increased beyond belief, and the rest of us can boycott those establishments. Who knows? Americans might learn to eat healthier foods, begin to lose some excess weight, etc….. Good news all around, I’d say.

  • robert says:

    fast food industry is your new c -class job’s in america after sending all the manufacturing jobs to china pay them a fair wage not only for there labor but there time here on earth with is price less

  • Alex says:

    ER techs and paramedics around the city…that have REAL skills don’t even make $15/hr. If you want better pay, well…got to school and earn a degree or gain a skill.

    • Steve says:

      heh, If you want better pay, well…”got” to school and earn a degree or gain a skill.

      Oh irony.

  • Kristin says:

    $15/hr i feel is too much for food workers. Im a pharmacy technician having to deal with people’s drugs all day long and a lot of them are always angry and i dont even make $15/hr

  • Howard Belcher says:

    If you want to make $15/hour, then go get some skills. Go get a trade, go to college, whatever. If you can’t afford college, go into the military. There are options, but many of these people yelling for a higher minimum wage just are not willing to take the time and better themselves. We have a huge shortage of skilled labor in this country and yet too many people are unemployed…. why??? Because they want to be the next CEO of Google or Microsoft. Sorry people, most of us will never have those types of jobs.

    Raising the minimum wage will either put those companies out of business that rely in the unskilled low pay worker, or force them to raise their prices which means everything else will start to increase, in which case, they will be here in a few years demanding $30/hour jobs.

  • SoSueMe says:

    $15.00 a hr for flipping burgers! LM@O. I guess they feel working in a fast food restaurant is a career, instead of part-time job or a job for someone just startling to enter the work force untill they better themselves. Of course it hasn’t occurred to the ‘Einstiens’ that those out of touch higher wages will be passed on to all the McDonalds eating lard arses.

  • Grant says:

    You work at McDonald’s. I don’t care how much money you need or how many bills you have. Your labor is NOT worth $15 a hour. I literally thought this was a joke. Sick of this entitlement mindset. The world owes you NOTHING.

    • Brian P says:

      Walk into any McDonalds and tell any one of those workers that their time on Earth is not even worth the right to live….That’s basically what we’re saying by allowing a Multi-Billion dollar corporation to pay them below the poverty level.

      It’s easy to sit in the comfort of your own cozy house and tell someone you’re better than them. I dare you to say that to their faces!

    • Entitlement? These people work very hard, this comment is insulting. Mcdonalds makes billions everyday, why can’t they pay a living wage to its people without raising prices. Its Greed plain and simple.

  • Elizabeth Fields says:

    If you want higher wages go get an education and get a real job like the rest of us. Or maybe get several jobs if you wanna spend your life flipping burgers. Don’t think the government will pick up your slack…..oh wait I forgot about welfare.

    • Brian P says:

      Do you fill out an application to work at McDonalds? Do you have a boss at McDonalds? Do you receive a paycheck from McDonalds? Then I think it qualifies as a “REAL” job!

      If these Workers have to deal with the people that are making these ignorant comments on a daily basis, they should make $100k!

  • Bruce says:

    If the wages paid by an employer are so inadequate, why is there no shortage of workers? Pay is based on market conditions. Supply and demand. If the job you have can be done by a high school sophomore with a couple hours training, the pay is going to be minimal.

    • I agree with the post that these workers deserve a higher pay because they are standing up for it. If you are not getting what you deserve as far as pay then stand up for yourself and stop trying to put your foot on somebody else who is standing up for their self.

  • Nancy says:

    I might be more receptive to a pay raise if McDonald’s could get a 3 item order right! Last week I ordered 2 hamburgers and an order of fries. When I got home, I was missing a hamburger.
    I don’t think $9 an hour is bad for that job.
    The single mother trying to get by – perhaps she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant again if she is struggling already. Sorry if that sounds harsh.

  • Charley says:

    Anybody that chooses to make a CAREER serving fast food is a loser and deserves $7.25. They should have paid more attention in school–it was FREE!!! I like fast food but nobody needs it. I won’t pay more to support higher wages. I already paid taxes for the education they refused.

    • Howard Belcher says:

      I think that is a bit harsh Charley. There is nothing wrong with making a career out of working at a fast food place, but you have to realize, you will not be driving a BMW, and you will have to work more to get ahead. The issue is the people who work at these places and feel they are entitled to something. Heck, I wish I made twice what I did, but I know that is not going to happen unless I change what I do or the demand for what I do increases significantly.

      There are many people who work in fast food who do it to supplement their families incomes or as a first job… nothing wrong with that at all.

  • kim tanner says:

    I work as a cook . No they don’t deserve more. I just got to 9.50 after 16 years at this company. I am thankful to have a job at all. You can live on that you just have to realize you can’t have everything you want when you want it. I also work a second job. It would be nice to make 15 but it isn’t practical. They don’t get your orders right and a lot of them are rude and lazy.

  • Gina Ziegler says:

    I work for an Ambulance Company, I get paid $10.01 an hour to save lives ! Why do fast food workers think they should make more than me just to flip burgers? I also have to put up with people and management, I bet some of the people that are not so nice work in fast food!

  • Cherie says:

    I have worked for the same company for 13 years and STILL don’t make $15/hr. Get real folks. Life’s tough all over

  • Working My Butt Off says:

    Can’t raise a family of 4 on minimum wage? I feel your pain. It didn’t work for me either. That’s why I got an education and worked to find better employment skills for the future. Plenty of schools that will take government money and make your employment possibilities so much better.
    Oh, and that nagging little problem of not being able to support a family on minimum wage? Don’t have a family before you get out of high school and get an education that will ENABLE you to support them.

  • Hard working middle class mom with no degree says:

    When a person accepts a job or position, they accept the pay. If that pay isn’t adequate, you either look elsewhere or take it until you can find something better. I never spent one day of my life in college and I make a lot more than $9.00/hr. I actually make more than $15.00 an hour. I make this money because I chose not to settle for minimum wage. I applied myself and worked my way up to where I needed to be. While I make a good salary, i’m not wealthy. I’d like to be wealthy, but choose not to put the work in to become wealthy. It’s my choice. I would imagine that if I threw a temper tantrum and demanded my boss pay enough to BE wealthy, he would laugh me out of his office.

  • candy says:

    Fast food jobs will requie a college degree soon. As it should at 15 /hr

  • Jeff says:

    I could see two possible outcomes if this happens…

    1. Companies would replace people with machines. Fast food production would be fully automated.
    2. The cost would go up causing less people to buy fast food. Maybe then people wouldn’t be so fat.

  • Bob says:

    I’am a trained welder at a foundry for 10 yrs. and I don’t make $15 an hr.

  • Keola says:

    I have friends and co-workers who carry brick ALL DAY and they don’t get paid $10 hr. If fast food workers get paid more, fast food will cost more, and its not worth what it cost now. Horrible food, horrible service, etc. We pay for quality, and there is NO quality in a fast food place.

  • Working for a living says:

    I work in a fast food place for 10 years and I don’t make $15.00 an hour. I work second job which is full time and I don’t make $15.00 an hour there either. I have to work two jobs in order to make ends meet. I am not complaining. There are no jobs out there. There are lots of people with out jobs. If you go back to school to get a better job who is to say that you are going to get one.

  • Terrance Evanson says:

    I really feel that the core issue here is the upper management itself, a greed factor exists in every sector of business in our country. As our country degrades due to a larger spread in the sectors between poor and wealthy the crime rate will increase also. What most folks don’t realize is you cannot support yourself on 7 or even 10 dollars per hour in this economy, so the federal minimum wage needs to increase to 10.00 per hour immediately, no CEO deserves more than $500,000.00 annually and the executive sectors need to come back to reality. I support the right to find a better job if you do not like how much you are currently paid.

    • Gordon Gecko says:

      So what you are saying Terrance is Greed is not good? Okay, how many of these people who are complaining for $15/hr jobs with no skills have iphones, big scree TV’s, newer cars, etc…. give me a break.

  • Casandra says:

    people need to take a dose of reality… Working hard at a fast food restaurant should give you the motivation and incentive to move up and move on in your work life, not entitle you to $15/hr. There are MANY hard working people in this country, like nurses and paramedics, that do not make $15/hr. If you want to make more money, get training; go to school and get a higher paying job. I am tired of the fast food restaurants taking the heat for peoples problems…

  • Bill says:

    $15.00/HR. Really? They collectively all don’t deserve it. They should be paid on work performance, not an inflated minimum wage. If you cannot get someones order correct in the drive thru and I have to read my order on the screen to tell you that you have typed it in correctly or not, I should be getting paid. Then, look in the bag to find some of your order missing. Regardless of your pay, what happened to pride in doing your best at work in America? Values are lacking in this country. A lot of people looking for something for nothing.

  • judi says:

    It’s not only the fast food industry.
    Working for a bank is no better than working for fast food industry. I earn just as much as a McDonald’s worker. After 5 years of service I received $.24 an hour pay increase and have way more responsibility than a burger flipper. We all need to start fighting for better pay.

  • Jason says:

    They should worry about getting my order right first. When they start caring about the work they do and looking at it as a representation of themselves then they can move their attention to something else. BTW, I did 7 yrs of produce at a grocery store to work my way through college so I know what it’s like to be paid min wage.

  • John says:

    Whatever happened to the attitude that many of our us, our parents, grandparents, etc used to have about opportunity? Many of them saw the opportunity to work at a fast food restaurant. They knew they were not going to make it rich doing so, but they made money and gained skills so they could go on to that better job.

  • Kya says:

    Fire fighter/ paramedics who run into burning buildings and risk their lives to save others do not even make this much an hour!!! Go get an education and then go on strike! $15/hr my fries better always be fresh, and my food should never be wrong.!!!! That’s all I’m saying!

    • Brian P says:

      Maybe they should show some heart like these workers, Stand up for Themselves and their coworkers, and then they’d make a change for the better too!

  • Really says:

    Let them work for tips… if fast food workers want to make more money they can work for it.

  • Dezso Horvat says:

    All you people wanting $15 job and feel you are entitled to it make me sick. When I come to this country and not know the language very well. I had no real skills but I come to cleveland area because freinds here and tell me I can find work here. I came here with nothing and went looking for job that would hire me with no skills. I found job at fast food place and tried that for some time. I had people spitt on me and call me names because of my accent and where I from. It not matter to me because I had pride in me that i had a job and was getting paid. I went on and look for better job because of communication issue I have at that time. My language get better with time but i never would have been able to writ this back then. I go from job to job looking for better opportunity. Eventually I get in welding school and learn a trade that is now supporting me very good. I Have house that I am paying on and a nice car.

    The problem with America is so much waste. So much taken for granted and so much wasted. Not in conventional sense of throwing stuff in garbage but thorwing opportunity away or wanting thing because of excess. Why do you need $15 job? Is is because you need to support your family or because you want to support your lifestyle? If it to support family than i can understand but many just say that but they really want to support lifestyle of rich and famous. We are not rich and famous. Yes, I want nice things but not just so I can keep up with everyone else. If I can pay my bills buy food and other things I need then it okay for me to buy nice things. Many people want to not pay bills and other things and go and get nice things. You cant have it that way.

    The reason minimum wage so low is so you better yourself and get more opportunity and make more money but with more experience and more skills. The problem with America is that we make it to easy on poor people with all this help and that help and they never want to get off there lazy big butt and go better themself. When I came to this county I could have gotten help but I refused to. Maybe I am to proud to take money from government but where I come from you earn what you make and people dont just give you it.

  • Nick says:

    You flip burgers, what you earn is exactly what you deserve for your job skill.

  • reed says:

    how about this. get an education. you’ve got to be kidding me. I make $14 for part time job after 2.5 yrs of education and continuing education.

    • Brian P says:

      I went through a 4 year apprenticeship. I make $30/hr plus $19/hr in benefits. That’s the beauty of standing up with your fellow coworkers! I’ll go out on a limb and say you’re not in a union….
      I support these workers. they are showing some heart and standing up for themselves. That alone ensures they will be victorious!

  • Brenda says:

    Most of you who have posted your hourly rate deserve more than you’re getting. Corporations are greedy.

  • Rick Gilger says:

    im sorry to say all my friends that have worked at fast food joints were going to school or looking for better employment. these places are and always have been for teenage kids and seniors suplimenting soc. security.if you want better paying jobs stop voting for job killing politicians, and young people go to school and stop taking drugs that keep you from getting better paying jobs.i have many friends in the manufacturing field who can’t get qualified applicants because 8 out of ten cant pass drug tests, sorry cant support this

  • Brian P says:

    The argument that “skilled” workers don’t make that much so why should “unskilled” workers, is quite illogical. These workers deserve it because they’re willing to stand up for it! Standing up for yourself and your coworkers IS “working” for a raise and a better job. If the “skilled” workers would get some courage and stand up to their employers, they too would earn more!

  • kathie says:

    Very well said, Dezso!

  • janice says:

    I understand fast food workers want more money.. I worked at Mcdonalds in my younger years.. Its very hard work for those of you who think its easy.. BUT… with companies laying off and no jobs out there even with a colleged education I would not be asking for a ridiculous amount for wages. Yes its hard work but not worth $ 15.00 and hour. I don’t earn $ 15.00 an hour and i work in an office. I just make sure I dont live above my mieans.. I have no credit cards or payments on anything other then my car. I have basic cable and basic cell phone service.. There are so many people who lost jobs that would gladly take your job so may want to be a bit more realistic. I can see standing up for your rights but $ 15.00 an hour is crazy… If you dont like your job or expect to make more then most working at Mcdonalds or any other fast food place then quit so someone who really needs a job can take yours and be happy knowing they can at least put a little food on the table for thier family.

  • tammy says:

    10.00 not 15.00 that would be makeing more instantly that people working harder jobs for years have still not reached. They are just heating up already prepared food. I see mc.d as a place for kids to make extra money and a start in job field not a career choice. If it goes to $15.00 i will stop going there.because the thought of them makeing more thN my husband building motors for the rta for ten years will make me sick

  • Bori says:

    They do need an increase on their wages they do have management positions I don’t think $15 but at least to $10 they do serve customers just like any other business…if u want a good service at least pay them with respect…cleaning after others is not a job requirement but they do with a smile on the face..so now I have to worry when i order no tomatoes next time they will be like get it out your self or go home and make your own food for ur family..they do have lots of patience and discipline…some people are disable and they work there just not to be a government food stamp ,so I guess is ok for them to sit a home and we support them….Come on….

Comments are closed.