Workers at several fast food restaurants and other retail outlets in Milwaukee walked off the job in protest for a higher minimum wage this morning.
The workers have come together to form the Milwaukee Workers Organizing Committee (www.raiseupmke.org) to fight for higher pay and the right to form a union without retaliation.
“We represent workers from more than 19 employers — food and retail — who are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees like us enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent, and transportation,” the organization said. “We’re worth more. These are billion-dollar companies that can afford to pay their employees better. Not only is higher pay the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do for Milwaukee. When workers are paid fairly, they spend the money on everyday items in our own community — and strengthen our economy.”
Workers were protesting outside of the McDonald’s restaurant in Milwaukee at the corner of 27th Street and Capitol Drive.
According to the Milwaukee Workers Organizing Committee, the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs forced workers to rely on low-paying jobs in fast food and retail. The group cites the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that seven out of 10 growth occupations are considered low wage.
According to the organization, there are more than 60,000 low-wage fast food and retail workers in the Milwaukee area.
The workers say the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not kept up with the cost of living.
The Milwaukee rally followed similar events in other cities across the country, including Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis.