News / Economy

US Fast-Food Workers Strike for Higher Wages

US Fast-Food Workers Strike for Higher Wages i
X
August 30, 2013 12:50 PM
Leading up to the Labor Day holiday celebrating the contribution of American workers to society, thousands of low-wage workers at fast food restaurants and retail stores went on a one-day strike in more than 50 cities. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that these protests are part of a labor union sponsored campaign to pressure the fast food industry to increase wages and allow workers to unionize.

US Fast-Food Workers Strike for Higher Wages

Brian Padden
— Leading up to the Labor Day holiday celebrating the contribution of American workers to society, thousands of low-wage workers at fast-food restaurants and retail stores went on a one-day strike in more than 50 cities.  These protests are part of a labor union sponsored campaign to pressure the fast food industry to increase wages and allow workers to unionize

In New York City, several hundred restaurant and retail workers took to the streets to demand higher wages.

One of them, Tasian Edwards works for Burger King and says the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which she earns, is not enough to support her family.

“I’m the oldest in the house.  And I’m the only one that can work right now, and $7.25 can’t feed my three siblings, including me and my mother," she said.

Organizers say workers in more than 50 American cities, including Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles, participated in one of the biggest worker protests in the country.  The strikes are part of a campaign backed by labor unions to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to join a labor union.

Proponents of the fast food industry say low-wage jobs provide opportunities to students and entry-level workers who over time will move on to better jobs and higher pay. Imposing higher wages, they say, could backfire on workers.

“If employers are paying more, they either have to raise their prices, which means the workers' dollars are buying less, or if employers have to cut back on hours or employment, then people have less take home pay at the end of the day," said economist Michael Saltzman from the Employment Policies Institute.

But protest organizers say with so many manufacturing jobs migrating to low-wage countries like China, the fast-food industry is the only option for many unskilled American workers. 

Fast-food worker Derrick Langley said it's time for American workers to stand up for their rights.

“I’m aware that this might cause me to lose my job, but at the same time I’m fighting for something I believe in. I’m just not going to let somebody keep stepping on my toes after I keep realizing it hurts,” he said. 

Saltzman said tax credits already help poor working families, but many workers said they don’t want to rely on government assistance. While one-day strikes may not force the industry to change on its own, they could increase pressure on President Obama and Congress to raise the minimum wage for all.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.