Fast Food Workers Plan Another Strike Thursday

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The groups that have coordinated labor strikes and demands for $15 an hour wages at fast food restaurants over the last few years say they plan to protest in 190 cities on Thursday. In addition, they claim that some home healthcare and airport workers will join the actions, according to statements sent to AOL Jobs.

The actions are timed for the second anniversary of McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's workers staging protests in New York City. This comes a week after the OUR Walmart group, apparently backed by at least some of the same unions and organizations as the fast food workers, staged actions at Walmart stores in multiple states last Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, as Daily Finance reported.

Although no fast food chains have met the $15 hourly wage demands, the protests have had an effect. Minimum wages rose in a number of states under ballot initiatives during November voting, according to another AOL Jobs story. Seattle had already approved a $15 minimum wage earlier this year and was joined by San Francisco, while Oakland, California voted for a $12.25 an hour figure. Chicago just passed a new minimum wage of $13 an hour.

In a statement on Monday, the International Franchise Association criticized the protests as "politically-motivated ... under the guise of trying to help the poor." The organization claims that unions supporting the actions are only interested in expanding membership and that the demands will harm the workers. In addition, the IFA claims that "the brand company has absolutely nothing to do with setting wages."

However, if the new labor movement is union-driven, the IFA is strongly influenced by large franchise chains, which have their own concerns. As the Associated Press reported in July, McDonald's has come under pressure from the National Labor Relations Board for effectively being a joint employer and potentially at liability in a number of class action lawsuits brought for alleged labor law violations, including wage theft.

Although fast food and other low-wage jobs were once considered nothing more than a rite of passage for young people who would advance into the workplace, adults now have a major presence in fast food, as noted at CBSNews.com. The average worker in such jobs is 28 years old, and reports from the Bureau of Labor Standards have repeatedly noted how a significant part of job growth has been in low-wage positions.

According to a CareerBuilder Report, a majority of employers want to increase the minimum wage, with half naming a figure of $10 an hour or more.

Many people in low-wage jobs, particularly when only working part-time, have found that income volatility has become a fact of life, according to the New York Times. The lack of financial stability can make life precarious and drive up the need for higher wages so that, when work is available, enough money might come in.
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