Traditionally, fast-food work has been considered entry-level, with the majority of employees being students needing a few dollars in their pocket.
These days that's no longer the case, with many adults taking jobs at McDonald's, Burger King, and the like to provide for their families. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the majority of fast-food workers between 2010 and 2012 were high school graduates between the ages of 25 and 54. The average wage for these employees: $7 to $10 an hour.
Without doing too much math, that equals $280 to $400 a week -- before payroll taxes and medical insurance -- to make the rent and pay the bills. These figures assume the employee works a full 40 hours per week. According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Education, the lower end of that pay scale is just above the 2014 poverty level for a single-person household ($11,670). Factor in any children and you've hit below the marker.
Workers in the fast-food industry are now rallying for a fair living wage, with a campaign demanding $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Led by Low Pay Is Not OK, workers have been staging protests outside various fast-food restaurants and organizing online petitions, with employees even rapping in the guise of Ronald McDonald and Burger King in an effort to bring attention to their cause.
Now they've upped their game to organize a one-day strike in 30 countries and 150 U.S. cities, including Miami.
On May 15, fast-food workers plan to mount one-day strikes in major cities. Salon.com reports that cities where the strikes will occur include Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, Sacramento, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York and will involve thousands of workers.
Outside the States, protests are planned for London, São Paolo, Dublin, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Geneva, San Salvador, and other metropolitan areas.
Asked about the Miami strike, a representative for Low Pay Is Not OK could not give details regarding the exact time and location, but he did confirm that workers in at least one restaurant are ready to walk out in protest May 15, with other strike locations in Miami a distinct possibility. Asked if the strike could close down a restaurant in Miami, he said, "It could." Also in the works is a location where workers from all industries sympathetic to the cause can gather and protest.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Short Order will update this post with more information as it becomes available.
Updated: A protest is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, May 15, near the McDonald's at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The public is invited to join fast-food workers in the fight for a fair wage. Note: The address for the protest is 901 NW 17th St., by the parking garage at the corner of NW 17th Street and NW Ninth Avenue.