Fast-food workers strike in Mass., gripe about payBy RODRIQUE NGOWI , Associated Press
Aug. 29, 2013 4:19 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — Dozens of fast-food workers across the state walked out of their jobs on Thursday in a nationwide protest to demand higher wages.
About 150 workers and supporters chanted slogans, held up signs and walked in loops in front of fast-food restaurants in Boston to demand $15 an hour. That's nearly double the state minimum wage of $8 an hour and more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
One protester, Kyle King, a cashier at a Burger King restaurant, has worked only in the fast-food industry throughout his adulthood. King, who's 45 and lives with his older brother, says the $8.15 an hour he earns is barely enough to pay for his bus fare to and from work each month and food for maybe a couple of days.
So how does he cope?
"I make cutbacks, like I have been doing for, like, ... two-three years now ... by buying less and then saving up for the next bill that comes in because I have no idea how much that bill is gonna be — and then even paying part of the bill, as opposed to paying the whole bill," King said.
He said some fast-food workers have to rely on public assistance even though they're working 35 or 40 hours a week.
The restaurant industry says raising wages would hurt job creation and make food cost more.
The Boston strike annoyed some fast-food customers, who said they just wanted to get some fried chicken or burgers while workers walked around in the streets and complained.
For 20-year-old striking fast-food worker Jussara Dos Santos, the protest wasn't intended to annoy customers. Dos Santos works as a cashier at KFC, earning $8.75 an hour, which she says isn't enough to help her mother raise a family of three children.
Dos Santos said she couldn't save money for college and had to take a second job and even with that she's able to save only $50 a week.
Rodrique Ngowi can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/ngowi