Fast-food workers plan nationwide protest on Thursday

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Nancy Salgado, a cashier at a Chicago McDonald's, plans to strike this Thursday. Union organizers say workers are prepared to be arrested if need be. (Photo: CNN)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Fast-food workers will walk off their jobs in 150 cities nationwide Thursday in their bid to get paid at least $15 an hour, union organizers said Monday

Restaurants that they say will be affected include McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands.

The action would be the latest in a two-year effort to get employers to pay them a minimum wage of $15 an hour and allow them to form unions without retaliation.

Nancy Salgado, a 27-year-old single mother of a 3-year-old boy and an 8-year old-girl, plans to strike.

Salgado works at a McDonald’s in the Logan Square area of Chicago earning $8.25 an hour, or about $600 a month take-home pay.

After splitting rent and utilities with three roommates, and paying for child care, she’s left with a little over $100 a month for food and everything else.

“If I have a dollar at the end of the month, it’s a miracle,” Salgado said.

Related: I work in fast food and I’m not a teenager

Currently, the median pay for fast-food workers is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than the Census Bureau’s poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

Thursday’s action would come more than a month after the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel ruled that McDonald’s is a joint employer that exerts substantial power over working conditions at its franchisees. The ruling, if upheld, means McDonald’s could be held liable for labor violations at its more than 12,000 franchisee-owned restaurants.

McDonald’s has contended that franchisees operate as independent businesses and that, therefore, it’s not liable.

In March, McDonald’s workers filed seven class-action lawsuits in New York, California and Michigan over wage theft violations. The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards.

McDonald’s did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the class action suits or the preliminary ruling by the National Labor Relations Board.

Related: “My boss doesn’t rule my destiny”

Union organizers say the movement has elevated the debate about inequality in the U.S. and helped raise the minimum wage in some states, including Connecticut and New Jersey.

Public policy group Demos says CEO compensation in the industry since 2000 quadrupled to $24 million, while the average fast-food worker’s wage only increased 0.3%. Fast-food CEOs make 1,000 times more than the average worker in the industry, according to Demos.

U.S. census data show that the face of the fast-food worker has changed dramatically over the years. Workers over the age of 20 now make up 70% of the workforce and nearly 40% have children. A third of them have spent some time in college.

Salgado, who didn’t finish high school, said she’ll do whatever she has to to win the fight for a $15 minimum wage and a union.

“My 8-year-old daughter tells me ‘Everything is OK mommy,’ and I tell her, ‘yes,'” said Salgado. “But when she goes to sleep I know it’s not OK.”

 

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11 comments

  • chas holman

    SOLIDARITY

    Go get em folks.. Or they will just keep picking your bones until there is nothing else left, while the rest of us taxpayers have to chip in to keep you alive while a handful of extremely profitable shareholders laugh all the way to their offshore bank.

    Go get em boys and girls, m in a world that has grown starkly more expensive than wages have kept up with.

    Salute

    • nvader1201

      Perhaps if the GOVT would stop printing money they don’t have thereby devalueing the purchasing power if it, and people made better decisions in life we would not be here. The fact that Obama encourages illegal immigration therby flooding the lower end of the labor market does not help these uneducated people. PS .. spend some of that money on condoms save us all alot of money and improve your disposable income.

  • Joe

    Okay America in decline with multitudes of unskilled workers graduating from Government schools, so how is it that Obama and the Democrats continue to dump unskilled, poverty stricken, uneducated and unwanted border invaders on our streets to collect welfare?

  • nvader1201

    EDITED VERSION 16-17 YO gets pregnant doesnt finish school, later repeats mistake has anothe child she cannot afford, then expects “society” to make up for her poor chices in life. Makes no mention of Child support of her 2 baby daddy’s. Please NOTE: Fast food jobs were never meant to be Career choices, they are starting platforms to work while finishing high school and or college.

  • WorldCrimePrevention

    Fast food jobs are not meant to be career choices. They are meant as starter jobs while you go to college to learn for a good job. Anybody who walks off the job… even if it is to strike… they are voluntarily quiting their jobs which mean that they can not file for unemployment. Don’t be stupid. If you jave a job… keep it.

  • Miles

    I worked in a real restaurant with servers and cooks back in 1997. Everyone made $4.90 an hour minimum wage. It was never specified as a liveable wage. If you work in day food restaurants, most people back in the day didn’t work here their whole lives to make a living. They used it as a first job and than git better paying jobs.

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