NEW ORLEANS, La. – Dozens of New Orleans fast-food workers plan to walk off of the job Thursday as part of a 100-city-nationwide-workers-strike to receive better pay wages in the $200-billion fast-food industry.
The fast-food industry is the country’s fastest growing in terms of employment and the jobs are also the lowest paid, slowing recovery and hurting local economies.
While the fast-food industry is making record profits, workers are forced to rely on public assistance, to the tune of 7-billion taxpayer dollars each year.
The movement overall, has really begun to gain a lot of support, especially in New Orleans, and fast food workers are not the only ones joining the fight for better wages, several local officials and leaders are expected to attend.
The strikes are a part of a growing fast-food worker movement that started with 200 workers striking in New York City in 2012, and Thursday rallies are expected to be held in every region of the continental United States, as the fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation continues to grow.
Locally, the New Orleans metro area has over 7,300 fast-food workers, and the majority of them rely on public assistance to meet their basic needs.
One former Mc Donald’s fast-food worker who spoke with WWL-TV says even while working 2 full-time jobs for Mc Donald’s at $7.50 an hour, she can hardly make ends meet. “I’m just depending on food stamps right now, I live with my sister, who also works and receives poverty wages, and she also qualifies for food stamps and she lives in public housing,” says Martina Weary.
According to a recent study, 72% of all fast-food workers in the state of Louisiana are on some form of public assistance.
An adult with one child needs to make $19.72 an hour working full-time in the New Orleans area just to afford the basics, according to a model developed by a professor at MIT.
Right now, the average wage locally for fast-food workers is $8.54 an hour, which is why employees are demanding wages be raised to a more livable income of $15 dollars an hour.