Employees at various fast food outlets plan to strike for one day on Thursday in a campaign for a higher hourly rate from their employers' corporate owners. The fight for substantially increased wages of $15 an hour (the federal minimum is $7.25) has gained steam in the past year since a number of fast food workers went on strike in New York City last November.
While organizers, many backed by their unions, acknowledged that a one-day strike is highly unlikely to accomplish the goal of a higher wage in one fell swoop, they continue to press the issue, despite arguments against:
Officials with the National Restaurant Association have said the one-day strikes are publicity stunts. They warn that increasing pay to $15 an hour when the federal minimum wage is $7.25 would cause restaurants to rely more on automation and hire fewer workers.
Industry officials say that only a small percentage of fast-food jobs pay the minimum wage and that those are largely entry-level jobs for workers under 25.
Backers of the movement for higher pay point to studies saying that the average age of fast-food workers is 29 and that more than one-fourth are parents raising children.
The last similar sets of strikes was held across 50 cities in late August. Over the summer, McDonald's also came under fire for an employee website that indicated personnel might need a second job to cover all of their expenses. Over Black friday, many Walmart employees went on strike to protest the company's treatment of its workforce.