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“We are worth more:” Fast food workers continue to protest for higher wages

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GLENDALE (WITI) -- Protesters demanding higher wages for fast food workers descended on Bayshore mall and nearby fast food restaurants. It's the latest demonstration in a nationwide effort to get fast food chains to pay their workers $15 and hour.

This is movement that has gained momentum in recent months with voters and elected officials in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and in both Seattle and Chicago raising the minimum wage. Now a group is attempting to bring increased wages to Wisconsin.

Making a big issue out of small paychecks, protesters marched from Glendale's upscale Bayshore Town Center, to nearby fast food restaurants on Port Washington Road.

"I make burgers all day for a living, but I'm struggling to eat," said Daniel McFarland.

They're attempting to draw attention to what they view as an unfair pay scale, and drum up support for an increased minimum wage. The protesters echoed the themes of recent demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri and New York.

"They're over-criminalized, and they're forced into poverty wage employment. So we know that this is not just an economic justice issue. It is a racial justice issue," said Jennifer Epps-Addison, protester.

Jamale King dressed up as the Grinch to show what he sees as corporate greed.

"The Grinch steals Christmas, they steal everything else," said King.

A national restaurant association spokesperson says, "many restaurateurs would be forced to limit hiring, increase prices, cut employee hours or implement a combination of all three to pay for the wage increase."

After the 2007 federal minimum wage increase, 58% of restaurant operators increased menu prices and 41% reduced employee hours.

"We know that that's completely inaccurate. We know that the CEO's and these corporations are growing and growing and growing and they can share in that prosperity with everyone," said Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee County Board Chair.

Dimitrijevic was among the protesters. Last month four cities and nine counties voted for an increased minimum wage. But a republican controlled legislature and Governor Scott Walker have said the issue is a non-starter.

"I think they need to listen to the people who spoke at the ballot box," said Dimitrijevic.

Wisconsin's minimum wage is set at $7.25 and hour.

"You paying us $7.25 is like treating us like trash, and we are worth more," said Halle Smith, protester.

CLICK HERE to view 2014 minimum wage by state.

Chicago hikes minimum wage to $13


  • Homer

    I went to McDonald’s yesterday. I had a coupon for free fries and soda when purchasing a sandwich. When ordering, I ordered the sandwich and informed the person taking the drive-thru orders that I also had a coupon for free fries and a soda and that I would like a Coke. He read back my total for the full price and said “Drive around”. I stated, again, that I had a coupon for free fries and soda. No reply. Drove to the window and was given the same total. I, again, informed him of the coupon and handed it to him. No apology, no “I’ll be right with you” but the kid just grabbed the coupon and walked away. Who I’m assuming was the Manager came to the register and corrected the total but at no time apologized for the inconvenience or incompetence of her employee. I’m sorry, neither of those people deserve $15 per hour for THAT type of service. Give them $15 an hour and watch how no one eats at the fast food restaurants any longer or wait 10 years for robots to replace them all.

    • Cheri

      Exactly! Every “Fast food” type chain I’ve been to the people working there don’t even deserve half of that amount the way they outwardly display how much they hate their job and don’t want to have to lift a finger. Teenagers seem to feel so entitled these days that God-forbid that they actually have to do “work” to earn their paycheck. There is this dead-eye teenager at the McDonalds near us (Female teen who looks to be still in high school or just recently graduated) that tried to hand me a medium soda when I ordered a large on the speaker. I refused to take it and said that was supposed to be a “large”. She then looks at me with her brain-dead stare and replies “It comes with the meal”… REALLY? You don’t freaking say! I repeated yet again that I paid for a large and that was a medium… again a blank stare then after like a minute of her being a total dunce, she finally understood and corrected it. Stuff like this happens at every place I’ve stopped at. Simple comprehension is beyond those people and why they would *ever* feel they deserve $15 for that level of service is unbelievable.

      • Regina Glover

        Honestly, this argument sounds stupid. It is your opinion that because you recieved poor service one day at one fastfood restaurant, that the wages of people all over the united states should not be lifted? You think that they should not even be paid half because they feel so abused at work that they outwardly show unhappiness? Here is an intelligent argument for why people don’t deserve a minimum wage of 15/hr.

  • Sheila Moyet

    $15.00 an hour??? Are you serious? These are unskilled jobs. If people want better paying jobs they should go back to school and get trained for skilled labor. If we start paying $15 per hour, where is the incentive to do better? This is just crazy. I had to go through extensive training in business management in order to start off at $15 per hour. People expect too much these days.

  • hank

    These are jobs for new hires coming into the work place, not people who have families to support. Take responsibility and find a way to move up the ladder, it’s nor that hard if you put forth some effort.

  • JP79

    15 sounds like a good pay for a manager of a fast food place, but taking an order or making a fast food burger is not the same as making a real burger. Fast food cooks do not really know what it takes to really cook, these people have no idea what it is really like out in the work force. Look for a better paying job if you want more money, that is what adults do.

  • What!

    They don’t get that most of these are franchise owners just getting by, they’ll just shut them down, then what? There’s a reason for lower wages it’s so kids in school or just getting out learn how hard it is to earn a buck and instills a good work ethic it’s not for a career. A year after the demoncrats took over in 2007 these became the few jobs available so of course the dims will back it because it’ll save their ego.

  • G Man

    I say pay them $15 an hour. If they are currently making $7.50 that doubles their pay. Here’s how a fast food company can justify it. Let go all current employees, make them re-apply and hire back half the original staff requiring the remaining employees to “earn” their $15 per hour. Sorry, but if they want to get paid that wage, they should have to work their tails off for it.

  • wtf

    A LPN who has gone to school paid for tuition and is reponsible for human lives doesn’t make much more than that a new RN out of college who has incurred student loan debt (unless of course you are a minority and got some free education benefits, or an undocummented illegal) someone who will take care of you, give meds, wipe your butt, save your life if your heart stops, expose themselves to all kinds of sickness and heartache, will be lucky to make $21 to can y ou say someone who flips burgers or works at the drive thru deserves $15 an h our that is just stupid..

  • Really?

    When did McDonalds become a career? In my day it was always a teenagers job. It pays minimum wage because you need zero skills. Trying to say they were forced into these jobs is a total copout. They are where they are because of their choices. There are plenty of public assistance programs out there to get some training or retraining for a better job. I know because I am being retrained because of an injury that prevents me from doing what I have been doing for the past 30 years. They need to get off their butts and take charge of their life, and quit blaming others for their poor choices.

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