FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alex Bloom | 617-646-1013 | email@example.com
On behalf of the #WageAction Coalition: http://www.WageAction.org
Boston area workers denounce McDonald’s weak pay announcement
Fast food workers and allies rally at a Boston McDonald’s as part of coast-to-coast protests against the chain
BOSTON (April 3, 2015) – Slamming a pay announcement that will affect just 10 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce, McDonald’s workers in Boston and across the nation staged a series of protests on Thursday to call for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Boston area workers and their allies gathered outside the McDonald’s at 870 Massachusetts Ave. and spoke about how the company’s announcement would do little to help workers achieve a living wage.
Instead, workers demanded that McDonald’s raise wages to $15 an hour for all workers and respect their right to form a union without retaliation so hard-working cooks and cashiers can support their families.
McDonald’s wage announcement came one day after fast-food workers announced plans for the biggest-ever strike to hit the fast-food industry—a 200-city walkout beginning in Boston on April 14 and continuing internationally on April 15.
Boston will kick off the national action with workers across industries, including home care, transportation, retail, fast food workers and more, all leading a rally and march across the city on April 14. The march is scheduled to include stops at a McDonald’s and other employers who are purveyors of poverty wages.
“Earning $9.75 an hour is not enough to get by and as a result I must work two jobs to in order to provide food and shelter for my family,” said Khadijah White, a McDonald’s worker from Boston. “With their low pay, McDonald’s has forced the majority of us to live well below the poverty line. I hope that on April 14 McDonald’s finally hears us and gives us our $15 and a union.”
McDonald’s business model of low wages, limited hours, and nonexistent benefits forces more than half of its workers to rely on public assistance in order to afford food, rent, and other basic needs, according to a 2013 report by the National Employment Law Project. The report found that McDonald’s low wages cost taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.
Fast food workers were joined by their allies and supporters, including State Senator Dan Wolf, D-Harwich, along with students and religious leaders taking part in the protest.
“Fast food workers, like adjunct professors, airport personnel, and healthcare workers, deserve a living wage,” said Boston University adjunct professor Daniel Hunter to the crowd demonstrating at the Mass. Ave. McDonald’s. “We care for the elderly, educate our young and serve our neighbors, and we stand united in the Fight for $15 because no dedicated worker should ever have to live in poverty.”
While workers in Massachusetts secured major victories in 2014, including a hike in the minimum wage, earned sick time and a domestic workers bill of rights, much work remains to be done to address the low wage crisis that is threatening this country.
Nearly all of the 50,000 homecare workers living in Massachusetts make less than $15 an hour, and they joined the many groups calling for a living wage on Thursday.
“As personal care attendants, we provide vital care for seniors and people with disabilities across the Commonwealth but we are not paid a living wage,” said Wendy Cedeno, a personal care attendant from Dorchester. “We’re advocating for $15 per hour so that we can earn enough to care for our own families.”
A new Brookings Institution study shows that Boston is the third most inequitable city in the nation, with the top 5 percent of households earning 15 times what the bottom twenty make. In real dollars, that means those in the top 95th percentile took home $239,837 in income, while those at the bottom 20th percentile made just $15,952 in 2013.
In addition to Boston, workers protested in the following cities Thursday: Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Hartford, CT; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI; Memphis, TN; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Miramar, FL; New York, NY; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; St Louis, MO; San Diego, CA, Washington State.
# # #
The #WageAction coalition includes a range of Massachusetts community, religious, and labor groups united in support of the Fight for $15 and in the fight against income inequality. More info at http://www.WageAction.org.