Fast-Food Worker Walk-Off

Strikers in NYC, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, KC, Flint, seeking $15 per hour

NEW YORK -- Thousands of fast-food workers from quick-service restaurants such as McDonald's and Wendy's walked off the job Monday, calling for $15-an-hour pay, reported Bloomberg. Employees are striking in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., and Flint, Mich., this week, organizers said in a statement cited by the news agency.

Workers from Burger, Domino's Pizza and Subway restaurants are also striking this week, the report added.

The workers, who also are demanding the right to form a union without retaliation, are organized by groups such as New York Communities for Change, Jobs with Justice and Action Now.

The Service Employees International Union is (SEIU) providing money to the campaigns and helping to organize the strikes.

American fast-food and retail workers have been striking this year for higher wages, said the report. In April, employees from McDonald's and Yum! Brands, which owns the KFC and Taco Bell chains, joined workers from Dollar Tree, Macy's and L Brands's Victoria's Secret chain in walking off the job in Chicago and New York for higher pay.

Congress last voted to raise the federal minimum wage in 2007 and President Barack Obama's call to raise it to $9 an hour from $7.25 has recently gone nowhere with lawmakers, the report said. Certain states set minimum wage above the federal standard; minimum hourly pay in Illinois, for example, is $8.25.

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson said last week during an interview on Bloomberg TV that McDonald's is an "above minimum-wage employer." The chain will continue to provide entry-level jobs, he said.

"The majority of McDonald's restaurants across the country are owned and operated by independent business men and women where employees are paid competitive wages, and have access to flexible schedules and quality, affordable benefits," Ofelia Casillas, a spokesperson for Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp., told the news egency.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is adding jobs faster than any other sector in the United States, said the report. In June, the sector added 75,000 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fast-food cooks make $9.02 an hour, or about $18,760 a year, on average, according to 2012 data from the Washington-based agency.