Fast food workers protest in central Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fast food workers protest in central Wisconsin

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Fast food workers in central Wisconsin wanted to send a message of change Thursday afternoon. Dozens of people lined up outside Wendy's on Rib Mountain Drive.

Many people working in the fast food industry said living on $7.25 an hour is an everyday hurdle.

They said it doesn't ever seem to get better.

But fast food restaurants said the opportunity for growth is there.    

Protestors chanted and held signs to show their frustration with their current wages.

"Rent is high, public service is really high, we just can't do it on $7.25 an hour," said Ralph Wenzelew, Fast Food Worker.

The workers are part of a national fast food workers strike. Fast food employees are asking for $15 an hour and the right join a union.

The strike spans more than 50 U.S. cities, including areas here in central Wisconsin.

"You've got to fight for what you want, you know, they aren't just going to give it to you," said Duwayne Lewis, Fast Food Worker.

Wendy's employee Duwayne Lewis said the work and the pay just don't add up.

"I've got seven kids, so not including groceries and bills, by the time your check gets here you're broke already," said Lewis.

He said the hourly wage isn't the only hurdle he faces.

"I don't even get 40 hours a week," said Lewis.

Lewis said that's why he's here, alongside other workers, who face the same struggle.

"They make so much money off of us, we feel $15 is reasonable," said Lewis.

We asked fast food owners about their views on this.

A national Wendy's spokesperson released this statement:

"We are proud to provide a place where thousands of people, who come to us asking for a job, can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain skills and advance with us or move on to something else."

A statement from McDonald's said essentially the same thing. But workers like Lewis said something needs to change.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25. The last time it was raised was in July 2009.

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