Fast food workers 'fight for 15' as part of global strike - FOX 32 News Chicago

Fast food workers 'fight for 15' as part of global strike

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Fast food workers across America have not given up their demands for a living minimum wage. But this time around, the Fight for 15 has gone global. Fast food chain employees planned several strikes around the country Thursday.

Currently, the minimum wage in Illinois is about $8.25. At that rate, each worker that makes minimum wage takes home an average of $330 a week before taxes. And in a year, the average minimum wage worker brings home about $17,160 if they take no vacations.

Those workers say they want to make at least $15 an hour. Thursday morning, for the fifth time this year, local workers gathered outside the Rock 'N Roll McDonalds in Chicago to fight for that.

The Fight for 15 is a national event that workers from restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's are taking part in. Participants say the strike is about more money, a better way of life and the right to form a union, without retaliation from their bosses for doing so.

"Most of the workers are not teenagers - they are parents with kids trying to support families. Their reality is that most jobs available right now are low wage jobs. So we need to increase the wage so we can get the economy running again," one participant told FOX 32's Darlene Hill.

Some workplaces are responding to the workers, saying they just can't afford to pay their employees more money.

"It is impossible to make it at these wages. We believe McDonald's is a multi-billion dollar year industry. They can certainly afford to pay more," McDonald's worker Douglas Hunter said Thursday morning.

Legislators in Connecticut, Maryland and Illinois are talking about the minimum wage. But so far, only Seattle has said they will consider paying worker $15 an hour.

Illinois lawmakers say they would be willing to raise the minimum wage to $10.65. But workers say that still is not enough.

"That does not help. This is one of the richest countries in the world. There is no way we should be earning a starvation wage. That is what $10 an hour is," Hunter said.

A spokesperson for McDonalds issued this statement on the issue Thursday morning:

At McDonald’s, we offer part-time and full-time employment, benefits and competitive pay based on the local marketplace and job level. McDonald’s and our owner-operators are committed to providing our respective employees with opportunities to succeed, and we have a long, proven history of providing advancement opportunities for those who want it. We invest in training and professional development that helps them learn practical and transferable business skills whether at McDonald’s or elsewhere. It’s important to know approximately 80% of our global restaurants are independently owned and operated by small business owners, who are independent employers that comply with local and federal laws. This is an important discussion that needs to take into account the highly competitive nature of the industries that employ minimum wage workers, as well as consumers and the thousands of small businesses which own and operate the vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants.

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