DETROIT (WWJ) – After McDonald’s announced a $1 an hour raise, increased vacation time and educational benefits for employees in its non-franchise stores, local cashiers and cooks marched to one of the company’s restaurants Thursday.
And it wasn’t to offer thanks.
Dozens of protesters burst into the McDonald’s on W. McNichols and Livernois Thursday to have their voices heard, demanding raises to boost them to $15 an hour.
Organizers with the “Fight For $15” movement pushed for a bigger increase and lobbied for a labor union.
Rev. W.J. Rideout III led the march in Detroit and encouraged the employees to tell their personal story.
“Their slogan is ‘I’m Loving It,'” he said, adding, “We’re not loving $9 an hour. We’re not loving $8 an hour. We’re loving $15 and a union.”
Protesters say the current wage isn’t enough to take care of their basic responsibilities, “It’s either rent or a light bill. It’s one or the other with $8.15. I can’t do that,” said Lawanda Williamson of Detroit.
“If we want people to stop selling drugs, stop murdering, robbing, raping and killing … then we have to pay them something to keep them vitalized and civilized,” added Rev. Rideout III.
Beginning on July 1, McDonald’s says starting wages will be a dollar more than the local minimum wage where company-owned restaurants are located. By the end of 2016, it said the average hourly wage for McDonald’s workers at those stores will be more than $10 an hour, up from $9 an hour.
The increase comes after more than a dozen states and multiple cities raised their minimum wages last year, according to the National Employment Law Project.
At company-owned stores, McDonald’s says employees who have worked for at least a year and average of 20 hours a week will be eligible to accrue about 20 hours of paid time off a year.
“We are acting with a renewed sense of energy and purpose to turn our business around,” said McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook in a press release. “We know that a motivated workforce leads to better customer service so we believe this initial step not only benefits our employees, it will improve the McDonald’s restaurant experience. We’ll continue to evaluate opportunities that will make a difference for our people.”
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