KC part of nationwide fast food fight

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When we want something to eat quickly, a lot probably hit the closest fast food restaurant. On Monday, thousands of employees were asking to be better compensated for their hard work.

Kansas City was one of seven cities across the United States where workers were hoping the corporations they work for hear their pain.

"We're not asking to be millionaires, we're asking for a living wage," said Terrance Wise, a fast food worker here in the metro.

Wise lives and breathes fast food work. He's been with Burger King for eight years and picked up a second job at Pizza hut two years ago.

Both jobs together still don't make ends meet, he says.

"I have three daughters and a fiancée, who also works two low wage income jobs and we're currently homeless."

But, Wise isn't giving up. Instead, he's standing up. He joined in the fight for better wages for fast food employees. He was at one of several rallies held across the country Monday, all with the same theme: pay $15 an hour, with what the rallies call "livable" wage.

"It would be life changing, work wonders for my life. It would allow me to keep a home, take care of my daughters for college and be valuable to the community, bring more money into the economy," he said.

$15 an hour is about $31,000 a year, full-time.

After researching various websites, here's a look at some everyday jobs and their starting salaries:

  • Teachers in Kansas City, Kan., start out just less than $40,000 a year; Less than $33,000 on the Missouri side
  • Police officers on both sides of the stateline are fairly close in a starting salary at about $40,000
  • A social worker in Missouri makes about $33,000 annually, but in Kansas the starting salary is much higher at around $41,000


For Wise, he's doing what he wants to do and will continue, but hopes for more money than he's making now.

"I enjoy what I do," he said. "I enjoy servicing customers and these could be good jobs. We just have to make them better."

A spokesperson for Burger King says the company offers compensation and benefits consistent with the fast food service industry. Yum Corporation, which owns numerous fast food chains, did not offer comment. Wendy's said it's still assessing the situation.

Another rally is planned Tuesday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Gillham Park, 39th and Gillham, in Kansas City, Mo. A march is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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