"It's noisy, it's really hot, fast, they rush you. Sometimes you don't even get breaks. All for $7.25? It's crazy," is how one worker described the conditions that have caused her and the rest of America's fast-food employees to go on strike today. They demand the right to unionize and better pay - calling for a raise in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. Workers chanted, "Supersize our wages," as spokespersons for the Fast Food Forward campaign explained the economic logic, "If they have more money in their pockets, they'll spend it right here, helping to boost the entire economy." Which leaves us asking the always awkward question - where does this new 'economy boosting' money come from for this 107% pay rise? With gas prices rising, rents soaring and many employees already reliant on food stamps and medicaid, "I can't even order something off the menu with what I earn," one worker noted, "It makes me wonder what I'm even doing there." Indeed it does with all those benefits on offer elsewhere.
Bear in mind that the majority of new jobs created have been lower-wage jobs.
And it seems three years on that the family of four is still struggling.
Workers at McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's restaurants across New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., and Flint, Mich., walked out Monday in a one-day strike to demand better pay and the right to unionize, calling for minimum wage to more than double from $7.25 to $15 an hour and the end to what activists called "abusive labor practices."
The workers' actions will lift up all of New York City," he said. "If they have more money in their pockets, they'll spend it right here, helping to boost the entire economy."
Doubling the minimum wage would have a "significant effect on the private sector's ability to create jobs, especially those typically filled by first-time workers and teens,"
Glenda Soto, 35, a single mother supporting four children said that though she works full-time and often puts in 13-hour days at the Bronx McDonald's, money is a constant headache.
"My rent is going up in September," she said. "We are already living paycheck to paycheck."
The striking workers in Manhattan were joined by politicians and community leaders.
But in reaction to Monday’s walkouts, the right-leaning Employment Policies Institute said that a $15 minimum wage threshold would actually pose a hardship for employees, especially in the low-margin restaurant industry.
Tight-pressed eateries forced to pay higher salaries would likely start shifting from human labor to automated technology such as touch-screen ordering or payment devices, according to the group.