Fast food workers in city stage walkout in fight for higher wages

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MANHATTAN (PIX11) – Fast food workers are hitting the bricks all day Thursday, walking off their jobs in a protest over what they call low wages.

They have had strikes before but this time workers plan to strike in 50 cities across the nation.

At 34th and 5th Avenue a huge crowd stormed the McDonald’s chanting “Seven-twenty-five, you can’t survive” . They are calling it a National day of Strikes. Workers say the jobs at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s just don’t pay enough to survive on.  Many make $7.25 an hour or about $15,000 a year. They would like to see that doubled.

Kaye Smith works at Wendy’s and goes to school.  She says she doesn’t make enough to pay for everything.  “Some times you have to borrow from one bill in order to pay another bill.  Some times with credit cards, you have to take out a loan.  It’s really bad.”

So how is her quality of life?  “We’re trying to stay afloat, and we are just barely staying afloat right now.  We’re going to food pantries because we just can’t afford a lot of food right now.  Even though you work full time you still can’t afford to buy food for yourself.”

Owners say they can’t pay $15 an hour because they would have to raise prices to cover the costs and that would hurt the economy.

This strike is aimed at 1000 restaurants nationwide.

Burger King issued the following statement to PIX11:

“For decades, BURGER KING® restaurants have provided an entry point into the workforce for millions of Americans, including many of the system’s franchisees who began their careers working at local BURGER KING® restaurants. Over 99% of all BURGER KING® restaurants in the United States are independently owned and operated by third party franchisees. As a corporation, we respect the rights of all workers; however, Burger King Corp. does not make hiring, firing or other employment-related decisions for our franchisees. During this time, customer service and quality will remain a top priority in all BURGER KING® restaurants.

Burger King Corp. and its franchisees support and invest in the thousands of restaurant team members across the system.  BURGER KING® restaurants offer compensation and benefits that are consistent with the QSR industry.  In addition, through the BURGER KING McLAMORE(SM) Foundation, all BURGER KING® employees and their families are eligible for college scholarships to encourage further growth and education.”