KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fast food workers will strike for the second time in the past two months on Thursday in an effort to raise America’s minimum wage.
The last strike took place in seven cities. Thursday’s strike will include fast food workers from more than 50 cities across America.
Most think of fast food workers as high school and college students working just a few hours a week, but the reality is most fast food employees are out of school with families, struggling to pay their bills making $7.25 an hour. They are demanding to be paid $15 an hour.
Carmen Iverson, who works at McDonald’s and earns $7.35 an hour, said she struggles to pay her bills and hopes by striking, the minimum wage will be raised.
“It’s real tough because I have to choose between [paying] bills or clothes for [my kids],” she said.
One University of Kansas City Missouri economics professor thinks large corporations can afford to pay a higher minimum wage.
“Will they be profitable at $15 an hour? I haven’t seen any empirical evidence that says they wouldn’t be,” said John Henry, UMKC professor. “It’s just that their profits would be less, so yes, $15 is a reasonable number.”
Henry added it is a social justice issue and believes fast food workers have good cause to stand up and fight for higher wages.
Gina Chiara, spokesperson for the Stand Up Kansas City campaign agrees.
“McDonald’s CEO last year made $13 million and they made almost $6 billion in profits, $9 billion in revenues, so we believe that these corporations can afford to pay their employees what is a living wage,” Chiara said. “Studies have shown that here in Kansas City, a mom and one child should be making $17.21 an hour just to cover the basic necessities of life and these workers are not able to come close to that on minimum wage.”
Many fast food workers and community leaders met at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church at 38th and Troost around 6:30 a.m. Throughout the day, workers at a Burger King in Kansas City, Kan., and at a Church’s Chicken and McDonald’s in Kansas City, Mo., will walk off the job.