McDonald’s restaurant workers nationwide called the corporation’s recent announcement of a pay hike a public relations stunt. On April 1, 2015 McDonald’s announced that it would raise the wages of 90,000 of its workers in 10% of McDonald’s restaurants that add up to 1,500 establishments, although workers have been calling for a minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation for over 2 years. The corporation’s announcement comes one day after workers announced an April 15, 2015 Fight for $15 National Day of Action. They say that since the pay raise will exclude the franchise workers that make up 90% of McDonald’s employees, the move means little to the majority of the workers.
On April 2, 2015 workers and supporters protested the move outside of the 16th Street Mall McDonald’s establishment. Workers protested the wage increase set by McDonald’s that in some areas of the US would not significantly change earnings for most workers and for others would mean no increase at all.
“Denver low-wage workers are going to join the national day of action on April 15 when workers across the country [will] stand up and call for wages that will allow us to survive without public assistance,” said Andrew Olson, a local McDonald’s worker. A 2013 report by the National Employment Law Project found that similar to other retail giants such as Walmart, McDonald’s low wages cost taxpayers more than $1 billion a year. In a press release provided by spokesperson for the protest Jenny Davies-Schley, the report found that the company’s low wages, limited hours, and nonexistent benefits forces more than half its workers to rely on public assistance in order to afford food, rent, and other basic needs.
For a movement that started with just couple of workers walking out of the job two years ago, the numbers of fast-food workers who are demanding better working conditions now number in the tens of thousands. A 200-city walkout is planned for April 15, 2015. Locally, more than 1,000 are expected to gather on the University of Colorado Campus at the Tivoli Center of the Auraria campus.