Fast food workers take to the streets, demand higher wages - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fast food workers take to the streets, demand higher wages


People across the country braved the cold temperatures Thursday to protest.

Thousands of fast food workers at several restaurant chains walked off the job, demanding higher wages. The protestors say they want to be paid $15.00 an hour. That's a figure the fast food industry says is unrealistic and would lead to layoffs.

In our area, this is the second fast food protest in the past five months. About a dozen workers walked off their jobs for the rally. Many stood outside McDonalds in Wausau. They held signs and sang chants. Workers say the strikes won't stop until they get better wages.

"I can't survive on $7.25 and I'm pretty close to that and it's like, my bills are getting there and I can't afford it. I can't survive on that," said Jessy West, employee at Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken.

But Ed Lump, president and CEO of Wisconsin Restaurant Association, says the wage demands are unrealistic and would lead to layoffs.

"If we went to the fifteen dollar minimum wage that is being demanded the price increase would be extreme. Operators would have no choice but to cut hours, cut jobs and cut hours of operation probably," said Lump.

The protests were organized by Wisconsin Jobs Now and the Marathon County Labor Temple. According to the Labor Temple, about 1,000 people work fast food jobs in the Wausau area. The average wage is $8.63 an hour.

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