Fast-food workers rally in Durham for higher pay
Posted April 15, 2015
Durham, N.C. — 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."