December 5th, 2013
09:54 AM ET

Fast Food Workers in 100 Cities Plan Walkouts

Fast food protests aren't going away.

Organizers say fast food restaurant workers in 100 U.S. cities 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.

"Median pay for fast food workers is $9 an hour or $18,720 a year, well below the Census Bureau's poverty line of about $23,000 for a family of four," reports CNN's Alison Kosik.

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."

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. exoticdoc2

    Honestly, how hard can it be to replace people in no-skill jobs? Given no one does anything about them there are plenty of illegal aliens around to hire. Some jobs simply are not worth that much money, and burger-flipping is one of them. These types of jobs are generally supposed to be transient by nature where young people get a start. If you are still in one and trying to raise a family with it decades later that is your own fault for not trying to advance yourself.

    December 5, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
  2. Jer

    The fact that a single person working at McDonald's brings in less than poverty level for a family of four doesn't matter. Why are they basing their requirement for a raise based on that figure? A family of four typically would be 2 adults and 2 children. Are we saying that one person should make enough to support four? This is a time when it is almost necessary for the working class to have 2 incomes to support the family. That's the way my family has always functioned. All it takes is the 2nd adult to work even a part time job to bring the household over the poverty line for a family of four. There is no logical argument to be made that the starting pay of a fast food worker should be so high.

    December 5, 2013 at 10:44 am | Reply

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