SEATTLE — Picketers took to the streets Thursday to demand a major pay raise, protesting outside some major fast-food restaurants, including McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and Jimmy John’s.
The average fast-food employee makes just over $9-an-hour, or just about $18,500 a year. Now, workers are taking to the street to demand a pay raise to $15-an-hour as part of a nationwide effort. Besides better pay, many fast-food workers also want to be able to unionize and demonstrate without fear of retaliation.
In Seattle, protesters began their efforts at 6 a.m. outside of a Starbucks at 1125 4th Avenue. They plan to protest out outside of several locations throughout the day.
McDonalds USA released a statement saying:
“The story promoted by the individuals organizing these events does not provide an accurate picture of what it means to work at McDonald’s. We respect the strong relationship which exists among McDonald’s, our independent operators, and the employees who work in McDonald’s restaurants. Our restaurants remain open, with our dedicated employees providing strong service to our customers.
McDonald’s aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees. We provide training and professional development for all of those who wish to take advantage of those opportunities. Our history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald’s and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonald’s.”
A Wendy’s restaurant spokesperson also responded, saying they often pay higher than the minimum wage.
“We are proud to provide a place where thousands of people, who come to us asking for a job, can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain skills and advance with us or move on to something else,” the spokesperson said. “The vast majority of our restaurant employees make above the federal minimum wage.”
Here is a break down of planned events in the Seattle area.
7 a.m. — A rally will be held at Westlake Park
8:30 a.m. — Protest outside Jimmy John’s at 1200 3rd Avenue
12 p.m. — Wendy’s at 5315 15th avenue Northwest in Ballard
4 p.m. — Rally in Plymouth Pillars Park at Pike and Boren Avenue.