Central Illinois Fast-Food Workers Rally for Higher Wages
Champaign - All across the country, thousands of fast-food workers protested outside of McDonald's Thursday. It's called National "Fight for $15" Day. Members of the Central Illinois community gathered at the McDonald's at the intersection of Neil and Kirby in Champaign to rally for higher wages. They are demanding $15 an hour. Although fast-food workers around the country have been rallying for this for over a year now, this is the first time it's happened in East Central Illinois. Urbana Alderwoman, Carol Ammons, voiced her support.
"I think they deserve a higher wage, and I think this is one way to send the message to the whole community that we all play a part in this and we can also help improve the lives of the families of the people who work in these restaurants."
Ammons told WAND News minimum wage, alone, is not enough for most families.
"Many of those families are literally just scraping by, and most of them have to apply for public assistance to just make basic needs get met."
Ricky Baldwin, co-chair of Central Illinois Jobs with Justice, is another supporter. He wore a Santa suit to tell McDonald's they're on the naughty list.
"Is 15 dollars a lot? asked Well, is 1.5 billion dollars a lot of profit to make last quarter? That's what McDonald's reported," said Baldwin. "So they can afford to pay it."
In a statement, McDonald's says, "We...respect the right to voice an opinion."
Baldwin also believes raising the minimum wage would help the economy.
"If you give money to lower wage people, they spend it. That's good for the economy. They usually spend it locally. That's good for the local economy."
Raising minimum wage has always been a controversial issue. Some economists believe raising the minimum will result in job loss by making jobs more expensive.
Illinois' minimum wage ($8.25/hr) is currently higher than the federally mandated minimum.
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