Workers Interfaith Network and fast-food workers banded together this morning to protest minimum wages and the lack of ability to form a union. The protesters rallied at two McDonald’s locations before marching from the county courthouse downtown to the intersection of Danny Thomas Boulevard and Poplar Avenue, where Wendy’s and KFC are located.
“Before we were invisible, now our voices are being heard. We’re telling fast-food companies it’s not OK anymore to rake in huge profits but pay poverty wages,” said Ashley Cathey, a McDonald’s worker. “We’re standing up for higher pay, which will not just help fast-food workers but will help get Memphis’ economy moving again.”
In Memphis, the median wage is $8.49 and there are 11,400 fast-food workers, according to the Workers Interfaith Network. The organization also cites a model developed by a professor at MIT, which showed that an adult worker in Memphis with a child has to make $18.18 an hour to make a living wage.
“Corporations like McDonald’s are making big profits by paying poverty wages, and that’s just wrong,” said Dr. Herbert Lester from the Workers Interfaith Network. “They can afford to pay a living wage, which would put more money in workers’ pockets, so they can spend it in our community and lift our economy.”
Last month, voters raised the minimum wage in SeaTac, Wash., to $15 an hour, among other cities and states in the process of raising their respective minimum wages. The White House also announced Dec. 3 that it would support a Senate bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.