Fast food workers strike for $15/hr wage

by: Chris Legeros Updated:


SEATTLE, Wash. - Fast food workers walked off the job in Seattle Thursday in an effort to pressure their bosses into increasing wages.

Organizers claimed hundreds of fast food and coffee workers left work in Seattle and Tacoma to join the strike. KIRO 7 crews noted dozens but did not see anyone compelled to join the walkout Thursday evening as it moved through businesses on Capitol Hill.

Protests were held at a series of coffee shops and restaurants. They included a Starbucks store, Specialty's Cafe, Top Pot Coffee, Subway, Jimmy Johns, Wendy's, and a Burger King.

At a Jimmy John's downtown, four workers went on strike. "I managed to get all the delivery guys out so none of us are working," said striking worker Troy Dennison.

One of the strikers, Nicholas Tyler said, "I believe for the work that we're doing, we should be paid more." Tyler makes $10 an hour at a Specialty's Cafe in the Columbia Tower. He believes he should make $15.

Not everyone feels the same. We spotted customer Earl Reilly outside a coffee shop downtown. He said, "I feel that you should be compensated according to your skill set and if your skill set is such that you think that you're being underpaid, go look for another job."

Getting another job isn't that easy according to some of the strikers. Garrett McMahon said, "When your giving all your money to your rent and bills, you really don't have enough money to further your education, which is really necessary to get a better job right now."

A vice president for Specialty's Cafe and Bakery didn't want to comment on the walkout. The head of the Washington Restaurant Association said restaurants can't afford a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Anthony Anton told us the average profit margin for restaurants here is just four per cent of sales. He said if you bump wages by 50 or 60 percent, that profit would be "eviscerated."