ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Fast food employees are making their way through the St. Louis area for day two of a workers’ strike. More than 100 walked off the job Wednesday.
The cooks and cashiers are demanding a raise from the $7.35 hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour. They also want to unionize without facing retaliation.
According to organizers with STL Can’t Survive on $7.35, the Self-sufficiency Standard in St. Louis County requires a wage of $14.85. Many workers say they are making minimum wage or a little more.
We asked viewers to visit our Facebook page, and comment on whether such a raise is excessive. Some expressed that the workers deserve the raise. Even though she works at a different chain, Jamanda Gordon, 21, joined the early morning picket line at the Hardee’s on Hampton Avenue and Interstate-44 in west St. Louis.
She said she should get a raise, given her working conditions, “I have burns everywhere all over my body, from working. This is the most recent one,” she peeled back a bandage on her elbow. “Sure there’s a first aid kit. But that doesn’t really do anything. I just wash it off and get back to work.”
Other viewers commented that fast food work is meant for high-school and college students who don’t need a higher income.
“If I’m fighting for a degree, who is going to hire me?” she asked. “I don’t have the degree, yet. The fast food industry is all that’s here, really, for me right now. But, I’m going to school to get my bachelor’s in sociology. But, I don’t graduate yet. So, what am I supposed to do, take your $7.35?”
She joined dozens who picketed at her workplace, Wendy’s, on Manchester Road near McKnight Road in Rock Hill later Thursday morning. That group was smaller, as some protestors headed to other restaurants.
Cars drove past, honking their horns in support. Two St. Louis Police cruisers and a van stood by at the Hardee’s protest. There were no arrests Thursday morning.
More than 100 employees walked out of a McDonald’s and Jimmy Johns in Ferguson Wednesday. A McDonald’s spokesperson refuted the workers’ allegations in a written statement:
"We value and respect all the employees who work at McDonald's restaurants. The majority of McDonald’s restaurants in St. Louis and across the country are owned and operated by independent business men and women. Both our company and franchised-owned restaurants work hard every day to treat McDonald's employees with dignity and respect. Employees are paid competitive wages and have access to a range of benefits to meet their individual needs. In addition, employees who want to go from crew to management can take advantage of a variety of training and professional development opportunities."
The protests are scheduled to end with a rally and concert in the Delmar Loop in University City.