Madison fast food workers expected to join strike - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Madison fast food workers join national strike effort

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© Photo Courtesy Of Carl Gibson © Photo Courtesy Of Carl Gibson

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison fast food workers joined the national effort for higher wages and union rights Thursday.

"People higher up are making a lot, a lot of money off of our hard work," Dunkin' Donuts employee Meghan Ford told 27 News while striking with a group on Park Street.

Dozens gathered around town, holding up signs in front of their work places like Burger King, McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts. "I just told them I was going on strike because I don't get paid enough to do what I do here," Gage Jordan said.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association says outside unions are targeting an industry they don't understand. "We need to allow restaurant operators the ability to pay the worker at the skill levels that they have," Association Executive Vice President Susan Quam says. She argues the majority of employees being paid minimum wage are teens getting their first work experience. It's something that those on strike dispute.

"It's not just teenagers trying to get some extra cash for high school, these are families, these are full grown adults," Ford says.

The strikes come amid a push from the White House. President Obama says he'd like to raise minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9.00, which is a far cry from what strikers want.

"That translates to a lot higher cost for the consumer and the consumer's going to be paying a lot more for that quick service burger," Quam says. She also points out that most chains are owned locally, and it's up to the people in charge to decide on the starting wage.

"Eventually, down the road, we will raise minimum wage, we will have union benefits and a union represent us because the dynamic that fast food restaurants have right now is all profit, all profit and nothing for the employee," Ford says.

For now, many of the fast food employees will be going back to work on Friday.

****

MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of Madison fast food workers joined a nationwide strike Thursday morning.

The push is for higher wages at restaurant chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts. Strikers are asking for $15/hour.

The National Restaurant Association tells the Associated Press that doubling wages would hurt job creation because fast food chains face higher costs for ingredients and new regulations to pay more for health care. Spokesman Scott DeFife also says the low wages reflect employees who are younger and have little experience.

Danielle Lama will have more on the Madison strikers and rally planned for late Thursday afternoon.

****

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison fast food workers will join a nationwide strike Thursday.

They're expected to walk off their jobs, calling for $15/hour wages and the right to unionize without retaliation. It's part of the largest ever strike to hit the $200 billion industry.

The action spans 50 cities and every region of the U.S.

Workers at Dunkin' Donuts, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King are among those participating.

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