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Fast-food workers rally in Durham for higher pay

Posted April 15, 2015

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— Dozens of fast-food workers rallied on North Roxboro Street in Durham early Wednesday as part of the latest protest to push companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.

The Wednesday morning rally in Durham is one of two planned in the Triangle. Another is set to take place Wednesday evening at Shaw University.

Workers say they chose April 15, the deadline for filing income tax returns, to highlight the fact that they are often forced to rely on public assistance.

Last week McDonald's announced a $1 an hour raise for workers, but critics say that decision will only help employees that work at corporately owned locations.

North Carolina's minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. A person working 40 hours per week on minimum wage could expect to earn about $15,000 a year.

The "Fight for $15" campaign, which is backed financially by the Service Employees International Union and others, has gained national attention at a time when the wage gap between the poor and the rich has become a hot political issue.

The North Carolina State AFL-CIO said the rallies are "the vanguard of a resurgent labor movement in the south."

“Two-and-a-half years since the first 200 fast-food workers walked off the job in New York City, low-wage workers in big cities and small towns across North Carolina have found the courage to demand raises and claim their union rights by standing up and standing together," the statement said. "The strikes and rallies today are evidence that their ranks are growing, and that should be welcome news to the legions of workers here who are working hard while hardly getting by."

49 Comments

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  • Gary Hutson Apr 16, 2015
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    There are machines currently in existence that can duplicate everything a fast food worker does. Their only downside is the high initial cost of implementation. when the cost of maintaining human workers becomes high enough to equal the cost of implementing the machines, machines will naturally totally replace the workers. Then what are these people going to do.

  • Gary Hutson Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    You do realize that it's not just the bottom tier of people who would have to get raises. the whole pay scale has to be shifted up. Those who currently make 15.00 an hour for more skilled work and with more time in service would have to be giving the same percentage of a raise. and those above them and those above them. Otherwise you would be unfair to them.

  • Lisa Menendez Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    If fast-food non skill jobs pay 15 and hour, what will the skill workers currently earning 15 an hour make. I understand wanting to make more money, but these jobs are not worth paying 15 an hr. Work two jobs and that will get you to 15 an hour. McDonalds paid me 3:15 and hr in the 80s, but I had roommates... Didn't trying raise a family bofore I had a good job.

  • Alexia Proper Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Having said what I just said, there ARE jobs that pay more than $15/hr. There are many, in fact. I need a landscaper. I need a painter. I need a lot of things. Every service company I call charges more than $15/hr. If I were looking for work tomorrow and I had a choice between minimum wage or painting houses running my own business, I'd do the latter.

    One doesn't even have to incorporate to start a small business. Just start painting, landscaping, etc. With services like Craigslist, advertising is even free. Perhaps it is just me, but doesn't it seem hard to find people to do work anymore? No disrespect intended, but I have a hard time finding a person to do work around my house whose primary language is English. Basically, I think many of these folks are just too lazy to do real work, I think.

  • Alexia Proper Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    This is a rather interesting debate on real social issues. On the one hand, if one is working at a minimum-wage job trying to feed a family of four, it's nearly impossible and I can appreciate why one would want a higher wage. On the other hand, the business owner cannot simply pay that higher wage. Where does this money come from? It comes from sales and the business owner would have to increase prices to cover the higher wage. That, in turn, often leads to a decline in sales and a layoff will happen.
    Personally, I don't think there should even be a concept called "minimum wage". It's not that I want people to starve, but that the government meddles too much in small, private businesses to a point that the "paperwork" and associated employee costs are a real burden to any small business.
    If the economy was strong, then there would naturally be a rise in revenue, unemployment would drop, and wages would go up because businesses could afford it and would need to pay more.

  • Daniel Corell Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    I always thought fast food restaurant jobs for teens prior to college. Never thought people would be making a career and trying to raise 4 kids on that income. If you want better pay, apply at higher paying jobs.

  • Nathan Hunter Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    I don't understand why everyone feels so entitled to just double their salary without having to do anything to earn it. I had a minimum wage job, I worked hard and was promoted, then I found a career and was promoted within that company. Even when I worked a minimum wage job, we had enough money between my husband's income and mine to support our family of three, without government assistance. While things are certainly more comfortable now that we make what they are suggesting minimum wage is raised to, things worked when we didn't make $15 an hour too. You have to budget and cut out things you don't need, but it can be done. People just want reward without having to put any effort in, and that is just not the real world.

  • Edward Levy Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    no question that non-skilled workers NEED more income. BUT...if they get to $15 per hour, their families will not be able to eat at BK, MAC, Wendys, etc. They can raise to $20 per hour, but a big mac will cost $7, a happy meal $8. So, it is a catch 21. The stores can always raise your salary, because they can always raise the price of the product.. Thes companies are NOT going to Absorb and BIG pay increase. Obamacare, plays in to all of our economic woes. To cover those getting it on the dole, others are paying increase medical insurence. Thats economics I.1

  • Dan May Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Excuse me Chris, who is "we"? This is the problem, some people feeling entitled to tell others how to spend their money or run their business. The market determines the ACTUAL value of labor, not the arbitrary wishes of "we". I would prefer everyone make a livable wage as well, but I don't think politicians dictating it is the way to go.

  • Dan May Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    I guess I don't really understand why it is a great idea to have politicians and bureaucrats determine labor expense for private business. The market for labor and competition will determine what labor is actually worth. Having special interests and vote buyers arbitrarily decide wage levels will lead to nothing good.

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