Push for better pay, work conditions for fast-food workers, others continues

Push for better pay, work conditions for fast-food workers, others continues

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A fast-food worker demonstrates to seek better pay rates, work conditions in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Eduardo Barraza Barriozona Magazine © 2015
Oscar Gomez, one of the thousands of fast-food worker protesting against low pay rates and poor work conditions. Photo by Eduardo Barraza | Barriozona Magazine © 2015

(Phoenix, Arizona) — Thousands of fast food workers across the United States and other countries protested on Tax Day to seek better pay, working conditions and the right to unionize.

The protests were part of a two-year mobilization focused on increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast-food restaurant workers.

Oscar Gomez, a cashier who works at a fast food restaurant in Phoenix said to Barriozona Magazine he participated in a protest to support other coworkers like him and their families who are struggling to pay their bills (watch video).

Organizers called Wednesday’s protests “the largest-ever mobilization of underpaid” workers. Some of the demonstrations took place on college campuses including Arizona State University and Phoenix College, among others. Some students and faculty joined the protests.

The actions now include people who work in home and child care, airports, industrial laundry and Walmart stores, organizers said. When the mobilization began two years ago, it mainly focused on workers from fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC and others.

A decision announced by McDonald’s to raise employees’ pay to at least $1 over their local minimum wages was considered minimal by supporters of the $15 an hour rate. The raise includes about 90,000 workers at the 1,500 restaurants run by McDonald’s corporate headquarters.

The $1 raise for eligible employees will increase pay to $9.90 an hour by July, up from $9.01, on average, and to about $10 an hour in 2016. The raise doesn’t include 660,000 employees at 12,500 McDonald’s franchises.

© 2015 – 2016, Eduardo Barraza. All rights reserved.

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