Fast food workers across the country are fed up with their pay and are demanding that the government do something about it. Earlier this month, fast food employees in 150 cities across America including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago protested their decidedly low wages, in hopes that Congress would take notice and increase their wages to $15 an hour. Workers are also hoping to form a restaurants workers’ union.
The movement, known as the “Fight for 15,” is made up of underemployed and underpaid workers fighting to be paid a living wage. The average restaurant employee makes only $10 an hour, while the average rate in other industries is $18, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The Service Employees International Union – the organization that is fully supporting Fight for 15’s cause – says fast food workers have it even worse than their sit-down restaurant counterparts, making an average of $8 an hour. With salaries like these, and little chance for paid promotions, it’s no wonder that one in six restaurant workers is living in poverty.
Democrats in Congress are currently trying to raise the minimum wage federally, stating that increased wages will decrease poverty and reliance on government safety programs. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, sees Fight for 15 as a step in the right direction.
“Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty,” he said. “I applaud the fast food workers all across the country who will be striking on Thursday to raise the minimum wage to a living wage,” of the countrywide strikes that took place earlier this month.
It’s too soon to say if the protests made a significant impact – or when the next protests will occur – but Fight for 15 is far from finished. With politicians such as Sanders providing endorsement to the cause, hopefully it will only be a matter of time before fast food workers earn a living wage.