Fast food workers walk off job, protest for higher wages
MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Several dozens of fast food workers walked off the job on Wednesday, May 15th, demanding higher wages. They say they cannot live off of what they are making, and say corporation profits are big enough to share.
Workers who demonstrated on Wednesday say they want more money, more benefits and the opportunity to form a union.
The rally in Milwaukee Wednesday came on the heels of similar protests in St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and New York.
These fast food workers are calling for wages of $15 an hour. They say most fast food workers currently make a little more than $7.
"$7.25? That's basically a little bit of food and the cheapest house that I can find, and I'm struggling with that. You know what I'm saying? Nobody can make it off that," DeAngelo Coleman said.
These workers also want better benefits, and the ability to form a union without retaliation.
Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski showed his support for these workers on Wednesday.
"The power of the people will win. I am going to be here with you and we're going to be here until the day that you win and get organized," Alderman Zielinski said.
Amare Graham says they simply want to live, save money and take care of their families.
"We need better benefits, higher wages so we can actually pay our utility bills, pay our electricity bills," Graham said.
Wednesday's protests in Milwaukee began bright and early at a McDonald's on the city's northside.
The McDonald's Corporation released a statement saying: "Employees are paid competitive wages and have access to a range of benefits to meet their individual needs. In addition, employees who want to go from crew to management can take advantage of a variety of training and professional development opportunities."
In the afternoon, the protest spread to a Burger King, where a 36-hour strike notice to form a union was read to management.
Rev. Willie Brisco, who read the notice, says corporations should be willing to share the profits.
"When you put more money in the hands of the people, the people will spend more money. The economy is stimulated when people have more money to spend," Brisco said.
In a statement to FOX6 News, McDonald's issued the following response:
"We value and respect all the employees who work at McDonald's restaurants. The majority of McDonald’s restaurants across the country are owned and operated by independent business men and women.
Both our company and franchised-owned restaurants work hard every day to treat McDonald's employees with dignity and respect. Employees are paid competitive wages and have access to a range of benefits to meet their individual needs.
In addition, employees who want to go from crew to management can take advantage of a variety of training and professional development opportunities."
Burger King issued the following statement to FOX6 News:
"For decades, BURGER KING® restaurants have provided an entry point into the workforce for millions of Americans, including many of the system's franchisees who began their careers working at local BURGER KING® restaurants.
Burger King Corp. and the franchisees who independently own and operate 99% of BURGER KING® restaurants support and invest in the thousands of restaurant team members across the system. BURGER KING® restaurants offer compensation and benefits that are consistent with the QSR industry.
In addition, through the BURGER KING McLAMORESM Foundation, all BURGER KING® employees and their families are eligible for college scholarships to encourage further growth and education."