LA Fast Food Protests, As Part Of Nationwide Strike, Call For $15 Minimum Wage


Kathleen Miles is the executive editor of Noema Magazine. She can be reached on Twitter at @mileskathleen.

LA fast food workers joined what is touted as the largest-ever nationwide strike against the industry, walking off their jobs in protest Thursday.

Employees of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, Jack in the Box and others plan to protest at three different Los Angeles locations Thursday to demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Good Jobs LA said in a statement.

The first protest began at 6 a.m. at a Burger King in South Los Angeles. Dozens of workers carried signs reading “Burgers and Lies,” “Yo Quiero $15,” and “Lovin’ a Living Wage,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and was last raised in 2009. In California, it’s $8 an hour and was last raised in 2008.

LA fast food workers make a median wage of $9 an hour and $11,232 annually, according to Good Jobs LA.

And yet, given living costs, an adult with one child needs to make $23.53 an hour — full-time — to afford the basics in Los Angeles, according to a living-wage calculator by MIT.

The California Restaurant Association contends that fast food workers are paid fairly.

“The reality of the restaurant industry is very different from how it’s being portrayed by the labor organizers leading today’s protests,” Angelica Pappas, communications manager of the California Restaurant Association, said to HuffPost in a statement. “In fact, nearly half of restaurant workers are teenagers and more than 70 percent are younger than 25 who look to the industry for jobs where they can have a flexible schedule while earning an income.”

Fast food workers are protesting in dozens of cities across the country Thursday. Other retail workers — from Macy’s, Sears and Victoria’s Secret — are expected to walk off their jobs as well. Both the fast food and the retail industries have been criticized for relying on low-wage and part-time labor.