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Fast Food Wage Protests Emerge Across U.S., Including Cleveland

Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

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A few dozen protesters gathered outside a Cleveland McDonald’s today, calling for a union and higher minimum wage for its employees. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, it’s part of a larger effort to boost the paychecks for fast-food workers nationwide, up to $15 an hour.

Photo Gallery

Demonstrators march outside a McDonalds on Memphis Avenue in Cleveland (pic by Brian Bull) Organizer Pamela Rosado points to where a nearby Taco Bell and Burger King sit down the street (pic by Brian Bull) Pro-union demonstrators hold up signs at today's Cleveland event (pic by Brian Bull) Activists are part of a larger demonstration which they say involve 100 U.S. cities today (pic by Brian Bull) A McDonalds employee snaps a shot of today's protest from a drive-through window (pic by Brian Bull)

“Hey McDonalds, you can’t hide!  We can see your greeting sign!” chanted the protesters. 

Many of them held signs stating, “Jobs with justice” and “Fair wages now”, sometimes getting a supportive honk from passing motorists. 

McDonalds employees watched from the drive-through window, some snapping photos of the demonstration.

“Fifteen dollars and a union! Fifteen dollars and a union!” said the gathering, who also planned to march to a neighboring Taco Bell and Burger King.

Speaker Pamela Rosado is an organizer for Fight For a Fair Economy, and is also the Outreach Coordinator for Policy Matters Ohio.  She says fast-food workers can’t settle for less than $15 an hour.

“You would still have people that would qualify or be eligible for food stamps, or other public assistance, depending on the size of their family,” says Rosado. “15 dollars is a livable wage.  And that’s what fighting for. 

“But If get Congress to move on raising the minimum wage, and continue to raise the minimum wage, we won’t say “NO,” she added with a laugh.

But Sean Chichelli, Director of Labor and Human Resources Policy for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, says raising the minimum wage that high would negatively affect fast-food companies.

“They’ll have to either charge more for their product or have fewer employees,” says Chichelli. “It’s about the only two options that they have.”

Chichelli adds fast-food jobs are low-skill, and there have been increases in the minimum wage in Ohio.  The next one, set to go into effect next year, will bring it to $7.95 an hour.

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Economy, Government/Politics

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