Yesterday’s walkouts at fast-food restaurants in seven U.S. cities are set to continue today in some if not all locations. Workers have walked out in an effort to gain an hourly wage of $15 and the right to unionize.
A strike organizing committee in St. Louis describes the purpose of the walkouts:
Our country’s fastest growing jobs are also the lowest paid, slowing our recovery and hurting our local economy. While the fast food industry is making record profits, its workers are forced to rely on public assistance just to afford the basics. That’s why fast-food workers from across the country are joining together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference or unfair labor practices.
The St. Louis protests will take place at a McDonalds Corp. (NYSE: MCD) store in East St. Louis, and members of the United Mine Workers of America are planning a demonstration outside the offices of Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) in support of the food workers.
In Kansas City, walkouts are targeting KFC, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut stores as well as McDonald’s.
The National Restaurant Association told the Guardian that the restaurant industry “is one of the best paths to achieving the American dream” and “provides opportunities for millions of Americans … to move up the ladder and succeed.” That argument might have a bit more force if it didn’t cost nearly $1 million to purchase a fast-food franchise. On $7.25 an hour, the current minimum wage, it would take about 66 years to save enough money to acquire a $1 million franchise. And then only if you didn’t spend any of that income on things like food, rent or anything else.