Protests are scheduled to take place this week in Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and Flint, Mich. Workers at Burger King, Wendy's, McDonald's and some retail stores will participate in the strikes. Workers at fast-food restaurants in New York walked off their jobs July 29. The walkouts are expected to intensify as the week progresses. Community groups and unions such as the Service Employees International Union are supporting the strikes.
The workers are calling for wages of $15 per hour and the opportunity to form unions without retaliation or intimidation by management. However, most restaurant employees earn more than the minimum wage, and only 5 percent of restaurant employees earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to the National Restaurant Association's website. Representatives of the industry argue that restaurants provide workers with experience that are stepping stones to opportunities for upward mobility.
However, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) refuted the claim in a recently release report, which stated that only 2.2 percent of jobs in the fast-food industry are managerial, professional or technical occupations. Additionally, franchise owners represent only 1.0 percent of jobs in the fast-food industry, and that at nine of the 11 largest chains in the US require franchisees to have a net worth of at least $500,000 and liquid assets of $250,000.