Silver Lake McDonalds Workers to Walk Off Job Today in Wage Protest

Workers protested low wages and highlighted efforts to increase their wages to $15 per hour.

By City News Service

Some fast-food workers in the Los Angeles area walked off the job Thursday as part of their continuing effort to have their wages increased to $15 an hour and form a union.

Workers at the McDonald's at  4348 Sunset Boulevard were taking part in the job action along with workers in 100 cities across the country. Workers at eateries such as McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC and Taco Bell were expected to participate in the walkout.

Hundreds of workers took part in a similar one-day walkout in August.

More than 100 workers and their supporters rallied outside a South Los Angeles McDonald's before sunrise, carrying signs and chanting for higher wages. Some said they simply can't earn a living on the salaries they are being paid.

"I work two jobs and McDonald's by itself, even though they give kind of good hours, it's not enough to help support me," one worker told ABC7.

Another said, "It's very difficult, especially when you have kids to raise."

Organizers -- including SEIU United Service Workers West -- say fast food workers "are forced to rely on public assistance just to make ends meet."

Strike organizers say there are about 102,500 fast-food workers in the Los Angeles area, earning a median wage of $9.03 an hour. They contend a recent study estimated that an adult with a child in the Los Angeles area needs to earn $29.34 an hour just to afford the basics and make ends meet.

McDonald's released a statement in August saying "the story promoted by the individuals organizing these events does not provide an accurate picture of what it means to work at McDonald's."

"We respect the strong relationship which exists among McDonald's, our independent operators and the employees who work in McDonald's restaurants. ... McDonald's aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees. We provide training and professional development for all of those who wish to take advantage of those opportunities. Our history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald's and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonald's."

Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association, said a "dramatic" salary increase like the one the union is calling for would hurt job growth and raise prices.

"Business owners already face great uncertainty due to a lack of a clear economic plan from Washington and the health care law's implementation," he said. "Calls to double the minimum wage only intensify the challenges faced by job creators."


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