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Fast Food Workers To Strike In Austin, 100 Cities Nationwide Today

Updated: Thursday, December 5 2013, 06:28 AM CST
Walking off the job for nearly double the wages: on Thursday, fast food workers across Austin and 100 cities nationwide are planning to strike. Workers behind the protests say they’re barely making enough to feed their families. Protestors say the average age of workers is 28, and many of them have kids and rely on public assistance. Around noon, in East Austin, they plan to walk off the job during the busy lunch hour.

Here’s what the strikers want: $15 an hour and the right to unionize without retaliation. Strikers say the median wage for fast food workers in Austin is $8.83 per hour. According to an MIT study, the average full-time worker with a child needs $19.56 per hour to make it in the Austin area.

"Minimum wage isn't enough to support our kids and we need more pay than that,” said Maria Ortiz, a fast food protestor during a similar strike in August. “I mean cause I'm a single mom, and I can't support my child off of $8.45 an hour."

But Richie Jackson, CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, says only about five percent of fast food workers earn minimum wage and about half of those are part-time. Jackson says those who stay in the industry often see wages go up as they work their way up, and raising the minimum to $15 an hour could mean a jump in menu prices.

"If you have a 15 dollar starting wage for entry level workers within the industry, then where do you have to go for your seasoned workers?” said Jackson. “What do you have to pay for you assistant managers and your managers?"

At the national level, there’s also a push by President Obama to raise the minimum wage.Fast Food Workers To Strike In Austin, 100 Cities Nationwide Today

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