Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday, in the largest protest of an almost year-long campaign to raise service sector wages.
Rallies were held in cities from New York to Oakland and stretched into the South, historically difficult territory for organized labor.
The striking workers say they want to unionize without retaliation in order to collectively bargain for a “living wage.”
They are demanding $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25. The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.
“It’s almost impossible to get by (alone),” said McDonald’s worker Rita Jennings, 37, who was among about 100 protesters who marched in downtown Detroit Thursday. “You have to live with somebody to make it.”
Jennings said that in her 11 years at McDonald’s, she has never received a raise above her wage of $7.40 an hour.
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