August 28, 2014

Charleston workers rally over wages, but do not walk off jobs

rally 2“Hold the burgers, hold the fries. We can’t survive on 725!”

That was the chant of a small gathering of fast food workers in the parking lot of a McDonalds restaurant in Charleston.

Food industry workers in cities around the U.S. staged walkouts to demand the $7.25 an hour minimum wage be raised to $15.

But in Charleston the 25 protestors did not actually walk off the job. They had the time off already, and came to the designated spot wearing t-shirts that said, “SC Raise Up.”

Charleston Pastor Thomas Dixon, an organizer of the Charleston gathering, said minimum wager earners could “actually drive the economy.”

“Yes, they are worth it, just based on the cost of living, period,” Dixon told South Carolina Radio Network.

La Kia Williams, an assistant manager at a Charleston Burger King said she was not afraid to be part of the workers’ rally.

“From starting at the bottom, as a crew member and doing this for almost 14 years, this is something I believe strongly in,” she said.

This is after President Barack Obama vowed to make a minimum wage increase a priority. He has not espoused an increase to $15 an hour, however. At $7.25 an hour, a fulltime worker makes about $15,000 a year. Yet, many are not scheduled at 40 hours a week.

As USA Today reported, the National Restaurant Association is pushing back, calling the protests  a “campaign engineered by national labor groups.”

Sheree Bernardi reporting from Charleston.