Reporting Bud Gillett
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fast food workers walked out of restaurants across the country – from Los Angeles to New York, from Denver to Dallas, and nearly 60 cities in between.
Workers staged protests to demand $15 an hour. Many of them start at minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.
Picketers hit two restaurants in Dallas, one during the lunch hour, another at breakfast.
One of them, Gwendolyn McBride, says she’s been working for minimum wage for 3 ½ years and can barely survive.
Another protestor, Victoria Price, says even as McDonald’s shift manager she only makes $7.80 an hour.
“It’s depressing, it’s like a slap in our face because the owners do not come in and do the work. We do the work for them.”
Police were called during both the morning and lunch hour protests because demonstrators attempted to block customers.
Some customers like John Wilder were incensed by the interruption.
“Go to school, go to college. There’s people out there that ain’t making nothing, you know? That are living better than these people. It’s pathetic.”
The two protests were coordinated through the Houston-based Texas Organizing Project and attracted local activists and politicians, including State Rep. Boberto Alonso (D) from Grand Prairie.
“What we’re asking here today is that workers get paid a fair wage, which is justice,” he said.
Kyle Noonan, a restaurant owner and industry consultant, says he sees both sided of the issue. He says a 15-dollar wage would hit customers hard.
“The 99-cent value meals would disappear like that. It would become a 15-dollar value meal.”
Noonan says restaurants that don’t serve alcohol operate on a very thin profit margin – and payroll is the largest cost in the food industry.
“Really, the way you minimize that cost more than anything is not having employee turnover. Keeping employees, keeping them happy, keeping them motivated and giving opportunity for growth…if you can do that your costs will go down,” said Noonan.