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Identity & Community

Fast Food Workers March in North Side for Minimum Wage Hike

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Julian Routh
/
WESA

More than 100 fast food workers and supporters marched along Allegheny Avenue in the North Side Thursday morning to fight for a minimum wage hike.

The protest started at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and ended at the Wendy’s restaurant two blocks away, where the workers marched through the drive-through. The supporters also entered the doors of the McDonald’s next door to yell chants including, “We can’t survive on $7.25.”

Protestors in 190 cities across the United States spoke out Thursday, which marked the second birthday of ‘Fight for $15,’ a nationwide effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“I’m fighting for $15 for my son,” said Pittsburgh protestor Chris Ellis, who works at McDonald’s. “I’m fighting for $15 to see everybody get out of poverty.”

Lolene Germany, who works at a KFC in Wilkinsburg, missed her shift so she could participate in the protest.

“We deserve benefits and we deserve respect,” Germany said. “We deserve better than what we are getting. No one deserves to be treated how we are treated on a daily basis.”

On average, many fast food workers make little more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The median wage among fast food workers in the United States is $8.94, according to Department of Labor statistics.

The wage, which hasn’t been raised since 2009, amounts to approximately $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week.

That total barely allows workers to go to bed with a full stomach, according to Germany.

“I’m struggling just to pick and choose what bill I’m going to pay,” Germany said.

The movement, financially supported by the Service Employees International Union and others, has gained traction since 2012. Similar protests in September were held in 150 cities in the country.

Police followed Thursday’s protest in Pittsburgh but didn’t make any arrests. 

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