Fast food workers in the Triangle are going on strike today to demand higher wages from the multi-billion dollar corporations they say don’t care about their employees.
The protests, which kicked off in the parking lot of a Capital Boulevard Burger King at 6 a.m. this morning, are part of a wave of strikes happening in more than 100 cities across the country. Around 30 workers— some who make the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour— showed up with signs and banners to protest their low pay. They want $15 an hour and the right to unionize without fear of retaliation.
Today’s fast food strikes come a year after the first strikes in the nation popped up in northeastern cities like Chicago and New York. Strikes began in the Triangle this summer.
Raleigh/Cary employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor put the median hourly wage for front-line fast food works at $8.57 an hour in the Raleigh metro area; an MIT study found that an adult with one child living in Raleigh would need to make $20.07 an hour, working full-time, to afford the basics to survive.
66,000 fast food workers in North Carolina are receiving some kind of public assistance, at a cost of $264 million a year to state taxpayers who subsidize low wages in the fast food industry.
Kevin Rogers of Action NC, a grassroots organization that advocates for low-income communities, said the movement for higher wages in the service industry is gaining momentum.
“This is going to be ongoing,” he said. “You’re going to be hearing more from us and hopefully the voices will be growing louder and people will be talking more seriously about this.”
A larger protest will take place this morning in Durham at 11:30 a.m., at 2115 Avondale Drive.