$15 minimum wage supporters demonstrate outside fast-food joints

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SEATTLE — The demonstrators carrying signs for a $15-an-hour minimum wage hit the lunchtime crowds across the city Thursday, but most customers ignored their call for a boycott of fast-food restaurants and went on in to buy their burgers.

“If I’m hungry, I’m going to go eat, regardless,” said Eric, a customer at the McDonald’s near University Village.

mcpovertyFast-food workers demanding a $15 minimum wage in Seattle believe their movement is growing.

“It’s our turn to get what we deserve,” said Martina Phelps, a McDonald’s worker.

Alonna Monroe protested outside the Wendy’s in Lake City where she works. She admitted she’s nervous about what her employer may do, but she said she and other workers are struggling to make it on their current wage, so the risk is worth it.

“I’m in this for my family,” said Monroe. “The consequences could be bad, but then the outcome could be great.”

Protesters showed up at 25 fast food restaurants on Thursday, but the goal is for a $15 minimum wage citywide.

Anthony Anton, president of The Washington Restaurant Association, said there is support for a minimum wage increase over time, but to immediately go to $15 an hour “is causing an extreme amount of fear.”

The owner of a flower shop near one of the McDonald’s protests didn’t want to go on camera because she’s scared of retaliation, but said if the minimum wage goes to $15, “I’m going to close my shop. They (the protesters) don’t think about us, the small businesses. They just think about the money.”

Supporters of a $15 wage disagree, saying it will actually help the economy, because workers will have more money to spend at local businesses.

Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant campaigned on the issue and was part of the protests.

Mayor Ed Murray has put together a task force to figure out the best way to raise the minimum wage. But many people on both sides of the issue believe it will ultimately end up on a ballot before voters.

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  • jason

    With a 15 dollar wage peoples hours will be cut by 25-30% in order to keep the business running. Almost no one will be full time. Estimates of up to 1 million jobs will be lost. You cant run a business with out money in register. For 2 hour of picketing an individual would make more than 15 dollars. Dont bite the hand that feeds you. Economics 101. If you believe obama im sorry for you… not.

  • Guest

    If these low skill workers flipping burgers get a $6 increase in their pay, I want a $6 increase in my pay. The fact that liberals cannot just look around the world or review history to see that their ideology is nonsense, is astounding. They don't care about facts. It's all about how they feel. They will run this country in the ground before they wise up. Actually, they will just try the same policies again. They don't wise up.

  • Nate

    Seriously… work on improving yourself before improving the system. You can manage you, if you don't like your job keep looking for a better one. Not everything is "given" to you. It would be awesome if people in this state would just look at the big picture.

  • Cali Kid

    I'm pretty liberal and I think this is ridiculous. $15 an hour is pretty good money. I work at a bank where I am accountable for pretty high financing, loans, and accuracy and I make $12 per hour. I don't think somebody cooking french fries and burger should get paid the same as me, let alone MORE! unbelievable. Nobody told anybody they have to keep their job there. Better yourself with an education, or learning a new skill and EARN more money.