Reuters reported on Tuesday that the long-anticipated fast-food employee protests across the country took place on Monday when hundreds of workers walked off their job in the highly-publicized week-long demonstrations. New York was likely the location that had the most participation from the low-waged workers.
The idea of the protests and demonstrations is to encourage fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Wendy’s, Dominoes Pizza, and other such cheap-eats establishments to increase the pay of these workers to $15 per hour. Currently, such workers are earning about half of that amount, as most of these employees are making minimum wage which is nationally $7.25 at this time. Economic experts have drawn the line of poverty level at approximately $11 per hour.
An additional problem for these employees has been that many are working far fewer hours than they have in the past – allegedly due to Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act initiated by President Barack Obama and his administration).
People can testify to the fact that most workers at a typical McDonalds who used to be seen as many as 30-some hours a week on the job are now working about half the hours they used to have as the fast food restaurants have drastically cut hours and hired more persons on schedules which produce an extremely low-number-of-hours – less than 20 hours in many, many cases.
Critics of the protests say that such businesses should not be expected to pay higher wages as McDonalds and the like are not professions – but jobs that are considered to be for people who are on-the-way-up their career, such as students. Those supporting the demonstrations and protests for doubling the pay of such workers claim that – in the present economy – fast food workers are not the same people that have worked at such places in the past during a good economy. Many, it is claimed, are working at McDonalds while trying to support a family as it is the only job they can find in the past couple of years.
The unemployment rate in the nation, most recently reported at a stagnant 7.6 percent which is considered a much-too-high figure, also is accused of being misleadingly lower than what really exists throughout the nation because many – who have fast food restaurant jobs with very few hours and low pay – are figured in the data as working. Granted, they are working, but they are not working at jobs with enough hours and high enough a salary to really be considered a typical worker who can survive on the pay or who can support a family on the pay.
Besides New York, protests occurred in Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Flint in Michigan, Kansas City, and Milwaukee.
In addition to concerns about workers’ schedules and their lack of a decent, livable paycheck, the controversy concerning McDonalds taking garbage receptacles out of their drive-thrus grows. Many of the fast food restaurants are reportedly trying to cut costs by removing garbage receptacles from their drive-thrus so that their dumpsters don’t have to be emptied out so fast. Critics believe the result is horrendous littering in and around McDonalds restaurants. While a corporate employee from the Oakbrook, Illinois McDonalds claims the removal of garbage receptacles is only to speed up traffic through the drive-thru, on-site restaurant managers have said that the receptacles’ removal has nothing to do with the flow of traffic – they say it’s all about saving money.