U.S. Fast Food Strike expanding to 50 states

Fast-food workers in 50 U.S. cities plan to walk off the job today in
an attempt to ratchet up pressure on McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) and Wendy’s
Co. to raise wages.


Protests that began in New York last year are spreading to cities
including Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis,
according to the Service Employees International Union, which is
advising the strikers. About 200 workers showed up at the two-story
Rock N Roll McDonald’s store in Chicago’s River North neighborhood this
morning chanting: “Hey hey, ho ho, poverty wages gotta go!”


The non-union workers are demanding the right to organize and wages of
$15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum of $7.25. They now
make $9 an hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. By simultaneously targeting the largest chains, including
Yum! Brand Inc.’s Taco Bell and KFC, Subway and Burger King Worldwide
Inc. (BKW), organizers want to force a sector-wide response.


“What the workers are trying to do is hold the corporations accountable,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU president.

If the minimum wage were raised to $10.50, fast-food restaurants would
see about 2.7 percent higher costs, according to a letter signed by
economists in July in support of raising the federal minimum wage. The
eateries could absorb those cost increases by raising menu prices and by
allowing low-wage workers to get more of the business’s revenue, it
said.

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