Milwaukee workers joining global fast food protest for more pay, right to join union

MILWAUKEE -- Fast food workers in more than 150 cities, including Milwaukee, are expected to strike Thursday as part of a campaign for more pay and the right to form a union without retaliation.

Locally, workers will gather at McDonald's near Capitol and Holton to fight for a wage of $15 an hour and right to form a union before leading a rally at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

It's part of a campaign that began about a year ago in Milwaukee when employees from several fast food restaurants walked off of the job, asking for their hourly wage to be increased from Wisconsin's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. 

Around the world, protests are also planned in at least 30 countries, including Brazil, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Employees and organizers say the wage increase lines up with the increasing cost of basics such as food and rent. Employees rely on $7 billion in taxpayer dollars each year to make ends meet, according to Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Opponents of the increase say raising the minimum wage would make it more expensive for businesses to hire new workers at a time where high unemployment rates are widespread. Others argue that the increase would raise the cost of labor and could possibly lead to job loss. 

Community leaders and elected officials are expected to speak at the 11:15 a.m. rally at the Milwaukee County Courthouse and workers are also planning to celebrate the recent passing of the county's living wage ordinance. 


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