Fast food workers walk off the job: “The more we strike, the more awareness we are getting"

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Walk-outs and protests took place at fast food restaurants all over the country on Thursday morning -- including here in Milwaukee.

Employees say they want better wages. They are demanding $15/hour minimum wage.

“With everything going up, it will provide a better life for me and my family, and I will be able to afford the new healthcare that is now in place,” said Tommy Griffin, a McDonald’s employee for 5 years.

To those that say 15 dollars would be too much, Jennifer Epps-Adson the Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now says, “I would say that it is only 30 grand a year and if you think a family of four can survive on less than that, then you aren`t living in this country, because in this country it’s nearly impossible. Let them earn a decent wage. Stop subsidizing corporations with our tax dollars. And let’s live the American dream we were all raised to believe in.”

Epps-Adson is one of the organizers who led the group of workers and supporters to three different Milwaukee fast food restaurants Thursday morning, eventually making their way to the burger king of Capitol Drive. They were chanting not just about raising wages, but also about wanting the right to form a union without retaliation.

“The more we strike, the more awareness we are getting and the more people are starting to see that we are serious and we're not playing. And we are going to keep striking and doing what we have to do until we get what we deserve,” said Devonte Yates, a McDonald’s employee.

Organizers say there were 14 cities represented in the group of more than 50 fast food workers protesting Thursday.

McDonald’s has said in the past that its franchisees operate as independent businesses and because of it’s not liable. But last month, the national labor relations board’s general counsel ruled that McDonald’s is a joint employer which has power over working conditions at its franchisees. If the ruling is upheld it means McDonald’s could be held liable for labor violations at its more than 12,000 franchisee-owned restaurants.