Today at Fast Food Restaurants is Going to be Interesting...

April 14th 2015

Low-wage workers will participate in a nationwide strike today, and they'll be asking Americans to support their efforts to push Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $15.

According to the organizing group, the Fight for 15, the protest will include workers from McDonald’s, Walmart, Burger King, KFC, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts as well as child-care workers, home-care providers, airport workers, and adjunct professors.

Organizers expect as many as 60,000 people to participate in 200 locations, including some outside of the U.S.

We recently asked Mary Kay Henry, the President of SEIU, to respond to some of our Facebook comments:


Momentum is growing to increase wages.

Fast food workers attracted attention in December for staging a similar, nationwide protest. The issue of low wage work has been in the spotlight this week after a University of California, Berkeley study found that low-wage workers receive an estimated $127.8 billion per year in federal aid and $25 billion in state aid.

Perhaps in an attempt to blunt criticism ahead of today's protests, McDonald's announced last month that it would increase the minimum wage to at least $1 above the local minimum wage for workers at company-operated stores, which only make up about 10 percent of McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. Overall, 90,000 workers will be affected by the increase. It will move the average wage at McDonald's to $9.90 an hour, still well short of the Fight for 15's demand for $15 an hour.

"It's very hard to live on this salary," said McDonald's worker Jemere Calhoun, 30, in an interview with ATTN: in December. "You pretty much know that you start in the red. As soon as I get my check, I already know that it's not enough. So I have to take care of what's the most pressing matter at that time and then think of ways to fill that financial void."

ATTN: recently spent some time with Bart, who has worked at McDonald's for 22 years but only seen his wages go up 29 cents per year:


Walmart and Target have also recently announced increases to $10 an hour. Other retailers, such as The Container Store and Costco, have stood out by paying workers well above minimum wage and even providing benefits in some cases.

So is there any chance that politicians will raise the minimum wage?

Politically, the fight to increase the minimum wage has picked up steam. Last November, four states -- Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska, and South Dakota -- voted for minimum wage increases. Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago have all passed municipal minimum wage increases as well.

Some think tomorrow's protest will put pressure on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“The campaign is clearly going to have to come out with a position on it,” Dean Baker, a progressive economist, told The New York Times. “There is pressure on her to come up with a number [to where the minimum wage should be raised].”

President Obama has advocated for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. You can petition for a 15 dollar minimum wage here.