As We See It

Fast food workers are striking for a higher minimum wage

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More than 40 fast food workers gathered at a local McDonald’s last Thursday to strike for their rights, and to raise the minimum wage to $15.
Photo: Sam Morris

“Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersize!” shouted a group of more than 40 protesters armed with signs and loudspeakers. As the protesters made their way to McDonald’s at Sahara and Maryland, they were locked out by management, forcing them to the street corner in last Thursday’s global strike for fast food workers’ rights and to raise the minimum wage to $15.

“I’m making $8.25,” said 20-year-old Taco Bell employee, student and Army Reserves member Travesshania Jackson, who arrived with other strikers at 5:30 a.m. “It’s not enough to support my side of rent and bills and try to pay for school at the same time.” Holding a sign with a drawing of the Grinch dressed as Ronald McDonald, Jackson joined her fellow protesters in another chant, “Hey McDonald’s, you can’t hide! We can see your greedy side!”

“Workers on the Strip that have unions are making over $15 ... and they’re not jobs that are a lot different from the work that these workers are doing here each and every day,” says Jocelyn Torres, Deputy Director of ProgressNow Nevada Action. “[Culinary workers] get paid basically double, with benefits that [fast food workers] don’t get here.”

Local protests failed to yield a response from fast food chains, which is why Las Vegas fast food worker Nicolette Roberts is joining more than 2,000 workers at a May 22 protest at McDonald’s corporate headquarters during its annual shareholders meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois. “We’re making sure our demands for $15 and a union are heard in Las Vegas and Chicago,” Roberts said in a press release. “We are taking the fight to McDonald’s doorstep.”

In 2013, the McDonald’s employee website encouraged workers to get a second job, chew their food slowly to avoid hunger and to apply for public assistance—which they did. A study by the National Employment Law Project found that McDonald’s employees cost taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion a year.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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