Unhappy meal: American fast food workers strike over minimum wage pay
President Obama has called for the minimum wage to rise to $9 an hour - protesting workers want $15 an hour
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Thursday 29 August 2013
Fast-food employees in the US say they are being underpaid by major chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s, and they are not lovin’ it.
Workers in at least 50 cities went on strike or staged protests today as part of a growing campaign for increased pay in the service industry. The strikes at restaurants such as Wendy’s and Taco Bell – as well as a handful of retail chains – spread as far afield as Seattle in the North-east, Chicago in the Midwest, and Raleigh in the South. In New York, some 300 protesters occupied a branch of McDonald’s close to the Empire State Building.
President Barack Obama and others in Washington have called for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 (£4.70) an hour to $9. The workers say that a year of full-time work at the current minimum would net them $15,000, but many work only part-time.
They are demanding the minimum hourly rate be raised to as much as $15. Most of the new jobs added in the US since the recession have been part-time positions – and many of those are in food service and retail.
Workers are also asking to be allowed to bargain for better pay and conditions by forming unions, which the fast-food industry has staunchly resisted in the past.
McDonald’s and Burger King Worldwide said in a statement that most US branches of their chains were independent franchises, and that they were not therefore responsible for setting wage levels.
The companies also claim that raising pay would increase operating costs and thus prices. McDonald’s 2012 profits were in the region of $5.47bn.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...