In cities around the country Thursday, fast food workers will gather for another round of one-day strikes in hopes of gaining progress in the fight to raise minimum wage. If granted, workers in the industry would gain a 67 percent increase in pay. The average rate for fast food workers in the country is $9 an hour.
Restaurant industry officials have balked at so high a wage, saying it would sharply raise fast-food prices and reduce employment, in part by fueling automation of some jobs. They call the demand of $15 an hour a nonstarter as far as initiating negotiations.
But Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union, which has spent several million dollars to underwrite the fast-food strikes around the country that began a year ago, said it was only a matter of time before the worker protests became so great that McDonald’s, Burger King and other companies agreed to negotiate.
Thousands of workers are expected to walk out of their jobs in protest of what they feel are unlivable wages.
Several chains have cut cost by replacing workers with computer screens that greet customers and relay orders to cooks. Some experts, including those that support an increase, fear that a $15 an hour raise would greatly affect the industry. They say the pay expansion would increase fast food prices by close to 20 percent.
Today’s strike is coordinated by Big Labor, Fast Food Forward and fast food activist groups across the country.
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Should the minimum wage for fast food employees be raised? If so, by how much?
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