Thousands of fast-food workers from restaurants such as McDonald’s Corp. and Wendy’s Co. walked off the job, calling for $15-an-hour pay.
Employees of fast-food eateries will strike in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Missouri, and Flint, Michigan, this week, organizers said in an e-mailed statement.
The workers, who also are demanding the right to form a union without retaliation, are organized by groups such as New York Communities for Change, Jobs with Justice and Action Now. The Service Employees International Union is providing money to the campaigns and helping to organize the strikes.
American fast-food and retail workers have been striking this year for higher wages. In April, employees from McDonald’s and Yum! Brands Inc., which owns the KFC and Taco Bell chains, joined workers from Macy’s Inc. and L Brands Inc.’s Victoria’s Secret chain in walking off the job in Chicago and New York for higher pay.
Congress last voted to raise the federal minimum wage in 2007 and President Barack Obama’s call to raise it to $9 an hour from $7.25 has recently gone nowhere with lawmakers. Certain states set minimum wage above the federal standard; minimum hourly pay in Illinois, for example, is $8.25.
McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said last week that McDonald’s is an “above minimum-wage employer” during an interview on Bloomberg TV. The world’s largest restaurant chain, with more than 14,100 U.S. locations, will continue to provide entry-level jobs, he said.
The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is adding jobs faster than any other sector in the U.S. In June, the sector added 75,000 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fast-food cooks make $9.02 an hour, or about $18,760 a year, on average, according to 2012 data from the Washington-based agency.
Workers from Burger King Worldwide Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc. and Subway restaurants are also striking this week.
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