Friday, December 6, 2013

Berks Countians Protest Low Wages at McDonald’s in Wyomissing Call for Higher Wages to Boost Local Econom

 Over 100 Cities with Rallies to Support Strikers as Fast Food Corporations Face Backlash for Holding Down Pay

WYOMISSING, PA – As thousands of fast food workers went on strike today across the nation, Berks Countians protested at Wyomissing’s McDonald’s in one of many actions in 100 cities across the country to support the growing movement for a $15 per hour wage for fast food jobs and the right to form a union without retaliation.

“When profitable companies pay so little that workers have to rely on public assistance, it hurts our community and slows down our economy,” said Michael Morrill of West Reading, executive director Keystone Progress. “We’re calling on big fast food corporations like McDonald’s to heed their workers’ call for $15 an hour and a union. When workers have money in their pockets, they can spend it at local businesses and get the economy going again.”

The protest was one of many actions in cities across the country in support of the fast-food worker movement that started last November with 200 workers striking in New York City. The movement has grown steadily since then with strikes spreading to seven cities in the spring and fast-food workers in 60 cities going on strike on Aug. 29. 

A growing number of consumers and ordinary families are concerned that attempts by corporations in the fast food industry to hold down wages are slowing down the economy. Ordinary families are growing worried that more and more jobs don’t pay enough to live on.

This week’s strikes follow Black Friday walkouts by Walmart workers seeking higher wages and an end to retaliation against workers who speak out. A recent report about the nearly $7 billion taxpayer cost of the fast-food industry’s low wages and news that McDonald’s McResources help line actually points workers toward public assistance programs has stoked public outrage over low worker pay at large, profitable corporations.

Fast food is a $200 billion a year industry, yet many service workers across the country earn minimum wage or just above it and are forced to rely on public assistance programs to provide for their families and get healthcare for their children. Nationally, the median wage for cooks, cashiers and crew at fast-food restaurants is just $8.94 an hour.

Research shows that workers’ mobility in the fast-food industry is severely limited and workforce is no longer dominated by teenagers. A report released recently by the National Employment Law Project reveals managerial positions make up just 2.2% of all jobs in the industry, proving that fast food jobs are not the "launching pad" industry officials claim. Likewise, the industry’s claim that its workers are teenagers is simply not backed by fact. The median age in the fast-food industry is older than 28 and more than one-quarter of fast-food workers are raising at least one child.

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