Police in Detroit arrested dozens of demonstrators who took part in a nationwide fast-food protest. Hundreds of workers from various fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC, planned and orchestrated a strike to bump hourly wages to $15. Protesters reportedly wore T-shirts that read “$15” and sat in the middle of a road. The protesters refused to move when asked to do so by police, and the sum of all arrests was estimated to be between 20 and 40.
According to a Mashable report, many fast-food employees don’t make much more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage, which totals approximately $15,000 a year based on a 40-hour work week. When compared to the United States as a whole, according to mybudget360.com, the median income for Americans in 2013 was $50,502.
Michigan’s fast-food workers saw a bump from $7.40 per hour to $8.15 per hour just this week. Although that totals a difference in annual salary of less than $3,000, it’s a step in the right direction.
Industry official Scott DeFife, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president, feels that the goals of the protesters aren’t realistic. In a New York Times report, DeFife said of the wage increase,”It would have consequences on hiring patterns for Main Street businesses across the country.”
Nonetheless, the movement for higher wages has gained support from President Obama. Obama has put a higher minimum wage on his priority list, and he recently mentioned the movement at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.
“There’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity. If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union.”