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Fast-food strikes set for cities nationwide

Fast-food customers in search of burgers and fries today might run into striking workers instead.

Organizers say thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities across the country, part of a push to get chains such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s to pay workers higher wages.

It’s expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200 of the nation’s millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities.

Today’s planned walkouts follow a series of strikes that began last November in New York City, then spread to cities including Chicago, Detroit and Seattle. Workers say they want $15 an hour, which would be about $31,000 a year for full-time employees. That’s more than double the federal minimum wage, which many fast-food workers make, of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year.

The move comes amid calls from the White House, some members of Congress and economists to hike the federal minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. But most proposals seek a far more modest increase than the ones workers are asking for, with President Obama wanting to boost it to $9 an hour.

The push has brought considerable media attention to a staple of the fast-food industry – the so-called “McJobs” that are known for their low pay and limited prospects. But the workers taking part in the strikes still represent a tiny fraction of the broader industry. And it’s not clear whether the strikes today will shut down any restaurants because organizers made their plans public earlier in a call for workers around the country to participate, which gave managers time to adjust their staffing levels.

As it stands, fast-food workers say they can’t live on what they’re paid.

The National Restaurant Association said the low wages reflect the fact that most fast-food workers tend to be younger and have little work experience. Scott DeFife, a spokesman for the group, said that doubling wages would hurt job creation, noting that fast-food chains are already facing higher costs for ingredients, as well as new regulations that will require them to pay more in health care costs.

Legacy Comments26

Oh you pompous Republcans who think you know everything. You skinned your knee once falling off a bike and think you know all about catastrophic illness and health care because of it. You worked your way through college working several jobs 35 years ago and you think it makes you aware of and qualified to know the realities of everyone who has a job today. If you did it, everyone else should too. Yeah. Single parents for example, but later when their kids cause serious trouble because Mom works 3 jobs you'll then ask why Mom is so absent and throw her to the lions. Throw her in jail too, right?You people are the gum on the shoe of this nation.

....... dont forget we want to take formula away from babies and medicine away from Grannie and return to the 60 hour work week,

For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone even Republicans would not think people who work deserve a living wage. What do they want for God's sake. They tell everyone to go out and get a job get of welfare and yet refuse to let them make enough to live on. Many, many people work their whole lives in menial labor. They don't have the opportunity as most Republicans like Romney to come from money and then look down on the rest and say "I made it." What kind of upbringing did you people have that you feel superior to the people that wait on you? Even in your selfishness don't you realize when people make more the economy will improve and you money hungry people will get richer. Have you figured out a way to take it with you yet?

You cannot skip the steps in regards to achieving. Even college graduates start at the bottom. I do not know anybody who feels superior to service people. Just the opposite, they appreciate good service and reward it. I even tip the kid who pushes my grocery cart to my car if I am having a bad back day. I reward other service folks by being a customer at their business. The idea that folks who come from money are the only ones who succeed is a fallacy. Ask all the immigrants who have come here who managed to be successful. But this is not about common sense. It is about convincing folks they are victims and have no control over their lives.

I worked several minimum wage jobs when i started my working career. Can I sue my former employers for not paying me a living wage?????

That is exactly the attitude I meant. Some people's whole career is working for a minimum wage and not just "starting." Why is it so hard to at least admit that some people have not been as lucky as you? Have you ever looked into the faces that wait on you in restaurants and grocery stores? Do they all look like they are just "starting" their working careers? If you don't understand, you don't understand.

WOW, now minimum wage is classified by the left as a Living Wage. I suggest that you folks who are convinced that we have tons of folks out there living on minimum wage look at the stats from Bureau of Labor in regards to actually works for minimum wage. We keep hearing from the left that folks who manage their lives are lucky. The trouble with that theory is that it assumes folks have no control on how they plan their lives in regards to education, careers, having kids etc. It is very insulting to those of us who have managed to pay back our student loans, opened a business or delayed instant gratification to plan our future. That is how people get ahead. The greed and power label is also getting old. You do have control of your life. Bad luck occurs yes, but not often. Basically you make your own decisions on every level. If you decide that you have no decision making power, then you will paralyze yourself by doing nothing. Check out what it costs to own a franchise from McDonalds or any fast food chain. I know a few waitresses and I can tell you they do manage quite well. That is why they waitress. Great service rewards them with great tips. No waitress would work for a wage that is minimum or below. And many do it a couple a days a week because their spouse has a job also and they want to save to buy a home etc. Illegals will keep doing entry level jobs, because Americans have decided that service jobs are beneath them. Entry level jobs serve a purpose. The purpose is that staying at a low level, low paying job is not great. And hopefully inspires you to want more and go after it.

NHRabbit & Itsa - My point below was a simple one - If the CEO can get get pay raises of 237% or 215% to the tune of $13.8M and $27.7M then certainly there is enough money to give the people that prepare and serve their products a small raise. I don't think anyone believes they would get a raise to $15/hr, that would be like a 100% raise and no one every gets a 100% raise, except the CEO for their own company. Certainly the CEO has more responsibility and deserves a much higher wage but it must be just a little embarrassing to tell your workers there is no money for a raise when you earn $27.7M. Another example is the Blackstone group, they hotels. The minimum wage earners asked for a small wage increase and were told there was no money for them to get a raise, the very year that the top three people were paid a total of $550 Million. Seriously, could they have not been happy with say $400 Million and give the peons a small raise. These peons are the people the public sees every day, not the CEO's. Pure greed. Period.

Amen, brother.

I have heard this argument before about CEO pay. Here is the deal with a CEO Jim. He is paid according to what he produces, the fact that he or she might turn a failing company around, and pretty much saving companies so they do not go under. If the company goes under, everybody suffers. The responsibility with that position is huge, as you have the fate of your workers in your hands if you fail at keeping the company running. Can you put a price on that? If so what price? McDonalds and most fast foods have always been jobs that mostly teens acquire as first time work. gets them in there so they can learn the ropes and hopefully realize that flipping burgers is not a life time career goal. That is what low paying jobs do. They attract teens, not folks who expect to live off minimum wage.

Oh Rabbit, dear Rabbit, please describe in as much detail as you're able just what the CEO of McDonald's produces. Or the CEO of Liberty Mutual who in the last few years has taken in about a quarter billion of policyholder money (even more shameful because it's a mutual company). And I'd really like a defense of the golden handshakes given to CEOs who lead their companies into ruin.

more class warfare from the left. If they were at all concerned about the equal opportunity a free America offers them instead of obsessing about creating equal outcomes with their oppressive Big Govt they might see the folly of their liberal ways. 49% of Americans 18-29 years old have a positive view of socialism, while only 46% have positive views of capitalism. God help America

These are unskilled jobs and most are held by people who are not using these companies as a "career" but as a stepping stone. 2/3 of fast food jobs are held by teens and students. Most of the fast food companies do not pay $7.25, most pay what the market will bear in the area where each restaurant is located. $31,000 would be far too much for the job tasks performed and service would suffer because the companies would simply cut the labor used. Just as an example, in the food industry, the profit margins are slim and the average sale is small. You have to sell a heck of a lot of hamburgers to make 20 cents on the dollar. The average person does not understand this, they think that if a restaurant has sales of $1,000,000 that it is rolling in the dough. Their total net profit for the owners might be less than $150,000 after all expenses, including employee labor. I can't speak to any of the mentioned fast food chains but I can tell you that food cost and labor should run 55-60%, occupancy (rent, lease, property taxes, etc) generally runs 10-15%, utilities run about 8-10% and all other expenses around 6-8%. That leaves little left over for operating profit, maybe 7%-15% of total sales. If labor doubled, there would be no profit and therefore, no expansion. To the poster who compares the CEO to the hamburger flipper, well let's see, the responsibility of running 10,000+ locations worldwide to defrosting and turning over hamburgers..........silly analogy.

"silly analogy..." That's because it wasn't an analogy. Jim was not comparing the skill set and level of responsibility. He was making the point that one of the reasons wages have stagnated for the working class is because such a huge percentage of corporate profits are now going into CEO compensation. It's consumer demand that creates jobs, not CEO compensation. Overall, who's going to spend more money on everyday goods & services - one guy who makes $30 million a year? or 1000 individual workers making $30,000 a year?

The "working class", seems like everyone is in that class, we all work. The brighter you are and the more you contribute, the more you make. What a public or private company pays their CEO or President or floor sweepers in none of anyone's business. If people don't like those jobs, then apply elsewhere. You as a consumer do not have to support any company that you feel does not meet your ethical, moral or personal standards. $30000 for a cook at McDonald's or for a rude cashier who "aks" you questions......give me a break! Use some common sense, those jobs are for unskilled people and are not meant to be a full time provider job.

So... "unskilled" people are never full-time providers. Everyone who has a family to provide for also has the skills & experience to get a $15/ hour job. Interesting. The things I learn here are amazing.

Of course they may be full time providers but companies and others are under NO obligation to make sure that they some kind of equal money. $30,000 to flip a hamburger? Not going to happen. Sorry.

What a snob you are.

These workers should be glad just to have a job and kissing the feet of McDonald's for training them to flip a burger. It is clear McDonald's cannot, I repeat cannot, afford to pay them a cent more. From usatoday.com on the top boys at McDonald's. • New CEO Don Thompson paid $13.8 million in 2012, up 237% over '11 • Ex-CEO Jim Skinner paid $27.7 million in 2012, up 215% over '11…… There is no room for pay raises for these peons.

This is the change Obama promised you...... turning America into a European-style cradle-to-grave 100% entitlement society

Well then, CEO's must be feeling especially entitled to their millions per year. And stockholders are feeling entitled to their dividends. Are you serious? Since when did getting paid for work become an entitlement? These are working people, and people who work full time, at ANYTHING that meets a need in the economy, should be paid a wage that doesn't require them to go on food stamps to feed their families. Wouldn't you rather see less people on welfare? Why aren't taxpayers demanding that corporations pay their workers more, so that we don't have to support those workers with welfare? Because profits have become the new religion in this country, and the pursuit of profits for a select few is sacrosanct. Sorry, but the trickle down theory does not work, and making it even holier is not going to magically make it start working.

A job is a social contract between an employer and an employee. The employer offers work and the potential employee can say yes or no. If you don't like the wages or the way the company is run, don't take the job.....or take that job and work two or three jobs as I have many times in my life. A little hard work won't hurt anyone.

Why do I feel you haven't spent many hrs getting up at 6 and standing over a hot grill for 8 hrs or doing any manual labor at all. Oh of course, you were a landscaper for your father's company while going to college. Tough.

Not really tillie. I started weeding flowerbeds, 150 of them around a hotel at 14 years old. I never worked for my father or any relative. I earned minimum wage back then, $1.60 per hour. Then I worked my way up through the ranks at the hotel during the fall and winter and then went back to landscaping in the Summer again. I then worked at NHH as a psychiatric aide in college. Graduating college I started to manage restaurants, my first job was $8800 per year and I worked the grill most of the time as a manager. Yes, often standing over the hot grill for 12 hours per day. I mopped floors, cleaned rest rooms, prepared food and washed dishes. Whatever it took to run a restaurant, I have done. I was 42 when I finally moved from single unit to multi-unit management. I worked 80 hours most weeks in the restaurant business, owned restaurants and took the chance employing over 60 people and giving them an opportunity to earn a living. I have NEVER worked less than 55 hours per week and most weeks work 60+ to excel in my career. I am on call 24 hours per day in my present job, 7 days per week and often take calls at all hours to solve problems. I don't work 35 hours per week on Hazen Drive, leave work and forget about it..........I am always "on". And if I make more than a state employee, I deserve to because that is the choice I made....they made theirs and that person deciding to work hourly at McDonalds made certain choices in their lives which wound up landing them there. Life isn't fair, you ought to be paid for job responsibility and for performance. This Obama economy has divided folks on this point but most people fail to blame the appropriate person. It is not you fellow hard working Americans, it is Obama and his policies.

Since when did getting paid for work become an entitlement? Since whenever employers are obligated by law to pay more than they would otherwise have to in order to fulfill their staffing needs. No argument here one way or the other just now as to moral entitlement, but that is "since when".

If we needed single tasking, unskilled people earning $30,000 per year for doing menial tasks we could just hire more public employees.

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