Community members, fast food workers, union members and the faith community gathered in front of the McDonald’s on Stinson Boulevard in Minneapolis to call on the fast food giant to pay family supporting wages to their employees. The event was part of a national day of actions around the United States to end poverty wages in the fast food industry.
Speaking to a crowd of 70 near the restaurant, St. Paul Lutheran pastor Grant Stevensen said that these workers are asked to give their lives to these companies and the companies in turn have a “sacred obligation” to provide living wages.
He was joined by Isaiah Campbell, who has worked at many fast food jobs including McDonald’s. “I know what it’s like to have to work 80 hours a week just to earn enough money to pay my bills,” said Campbell. “Every time I had a shift, I went in there and worked very hard. I took pride in my work,” he went on. “I also know that I wasn’t being paid a decent wage for my hard work.
Fast food worker Anytrea Baker added, “We as taxpayers, we’re paying subsidies of billions of dollars when McDonald’s needs to pay a livable wage.” She was referring to the public assistance, health care, food stamps and other programs taxpayers fund to make up for what these corporations don’t pay their workers.
“It’s time for us to wake up and understand,” Stevensen added, “that when these corporations pay poverty wages to their employees, it not only hurts the employees but it hurts the community as a whole.”
All three said wages need to be raised, including raising the minimum wage. A coalition of labor and community groups has been pushing for a a raise to the Minnesota state minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $9.50 per hour.
McDonald’s workers and supporters are calling for an increase to $15.00 per hour.
“It’s time in this state and it’s time in this country to raise the minimum wage,” said Stevensen.
(Video produced by the Labor Education Service)