Fast food slows down for protesting workers

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

The “Whopper” from Burger King.

Employees from the fast-food industry are on strike – meaning they don’t come in for work to protest conditions they don’t like. In dozens of cities across the US, employees skipped out on serving up burgers, fries, and shakes, in order to demand $15 an hour wages. The current minimum wage rate – the least a company can pay a worker – is $7.25.

Workers say they can’t live on the minimum wage, which leaves them with only $15,000 a year, if they work 40 hours every week. McDonald’s and Burger King say that having to pay higher entry-level wages would result in higher prices for fast food. Some lawmakers in Congress and President Barack Obama may want to raise the rate up to $9.

While so many in the nation are unemployed and earning no money, $15 an hour seems like a luxury, especially since retail managers of high-end stores rarely make $15 an hour. By demanding so high a minimum wage, the protesters are likely hurting their chances of actually making progress. A spokesman for the National Restaurant Association told the Associated Press news agency that pay is low only because the vast majority of fast-food workers are young and inexperienced. They believe paying someone so much for a job that requires little school or skill, is just going to cause problems for the consumer.