Fast-Food Workers Protest for Higher Wages

Low-wage employees across San Diego and the world rallied Wednesday asking to be paid $15 an hour

Fast-food restaurant employees, security guards and other low-wage workers conducted protests across San Diego Wednesday demanding better pay as part of global rallying efforts.

Strategically planned for Tax Day, the “Fight for $15” movement has workers across the nation fighting to have minimum wage increased to $15 an hour.

Locally, rallies and worker walk-outs were held at a McDonald’s on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park, outside Symphony Towers in downtown San Diego and at the Scripps Cottage Lawn at San Diego State University.

In front of the McDonald’s workers chanted: “Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages Supersize.”

The movement includes workers participating in protests across more than 200 U.S. cities. They’re employed as fast-food workers, adjunct professors, home care workers, child care workers and janitorial workers, among others.

Workers say they want better wages so they don’t have to request government assistance just to get by. They also want an opportunity to form their own unions. The battle has been raging for the past two-and-a-half years.

NBC 7 reached out to fast-food restaurants Wednesday for comment on the rallies.

Bob Bertini, a spokesperson for Wendy’s, said this on behalf of the fast-food chain:

“We are proud of the opportunities that Wendy’s provides to thousands of Americans who work in our restaurants. We provide a place where people can enter the workforce and, through their initiative and abilities, advance into higher positions in our restaurants and beyond.”

Meanwhile, McDonald’s released the following statement:

"We respect people’s right to peacefully protest, and our restaurants remain open every day with the focus on providing an exceptional experience for our customers. Recently, McDonald’s USA announced a wage increase and paid time off for employees at its company-owned restaurants and expanded educational opportunities for eligible employees at all restaurants. This is an important and meaningful first step as we continue to look at opportunities that will make a difference for employees. It’s important to know approximately 90% of our U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by franchisees who set wages according to job level and local and federal laws. McDonald’s does not determine wages set by our more than 3,000 U.S. franchisees.”

On behalf of San Diego County McDonald's, spokesperson Price Adam released this statement:

"At McDonald’s, we offer part-time and full-time employment, benefits and set competitive wages based on the local marketplace, job level, as well as local and federal laws. As San Diego local McDonald’s owner-operators, we are committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed, and we have a long, proven history of providing advancement opportunities for those who want it. We respect people’s right to peacefully protest and we continue to focus on providing an exceptional experience for our customers. - The San Diego County McDonald's Owner/Operator Association."

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