Local Fast Food Workers Protest, Demand Higher Wages - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Fast Food Workers Protest, Demand Higher Wages

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hundreds of fast food workers and supporters planned to protest at locations across the country to demand higher wages for their low-paying jobs. For the first time, rallies have also been planned in Nashville.

Protestors came from as far away as California to join with local fast food employees at the McDonald's at 12th Avenue South and Broadway.

"We work hard. I myself work 42 hours a week," McDonald's employee Phillis Pounds said.

They're hoping to create a national movement to demand better wages.

"It's hard to take care of a family on $7.25 (an hour) and I work hard. I work by myself on third shift," another employee Ernest Crews said.

For a full-time employee making $7.25 an hour, 40 hours a week will earn just over $15,000 a year. It's hardly enough for an individual to live on, let alone a family.

"We are asking for $15 an hour," Pounds explained. "Fifteen dollars (to show) respect, common courtesy and human decency; which is not an unfair thing to ask."

Their request is almost double the current Nashville average pay of $8.54 per hour.

McDonalds responded in a statement saying in part, "McDonald's and our owner-operators are committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed.  We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits.  And we invest in training and professional development that helps them learn practical and transferable business skills."

NewsChannel 5 went to the Nashville Career Advancement Center to see what those higher paying jobs require.

"Well you've got to have the skill set," Career Coach John McLallen said. "You also have to have the certification of sorts,"

Jane-Elise Thomas comes to the center periodically to help with her job search. While Thomas agrees the market is getting better she says even with the skills it's still difficult to find a higher paying job.

"I also feel like they're are $10 and $11 and $12 an hour jobs and that's really not enough to live on," she said. "I feel like when I ask for what I feel like I'm worth that (employers) probably could get somebody who could do it for less."

So while joining in solidarity with protestors all across the country sends a clear message, if the trends over the last couple of years are any indication wages are not increasing anytime soon.

"It doesn't matter how unfair everything is around me I have to support my kids," Pounds said. "Those are my babies. Those are my life."

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5_AundreaCT
Twitter: Twitter.com/NC5_AundreaCT

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