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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8058
JPY
USD
118.30
GBP
USD
0.6378
CAD
USD
1.1249
INR
USD
61.909

Rates may not be current.