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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9118
JPY
USD
124.31
GBP
USD
0.6420
CAD
USD
1.3048
INR
USD
64.136

Rates may not be current.