WAUSAU, Wis. (WXPR) -- Fast food workers plan to strike in Wausau on Thursday, as part of a national movement calling for higher wages and the right to bargain collectively. The nonprofit Wisconsin Jobs Now is organizing the rally in Wausau, but the group says fast food workers in over 150 U.S. cities also plan to walk off their jobs Thursday. They’re asking for a 15-dollar hourly wage and the right to form a union.
21-year-old Brandi Barreto works two part time jobs, including one at Hardee’s in Wausau. She says she still struggles to make her rent, because her fast food wages are too low. “I’ve been there for a little over a year, and my raise was not even a quarter, it’s 15 cents. I mean what am I going to do with that at the end of the day? And that’s what I know a union would have in mind for us.”
Earlier this week, in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, President Barack Obama voiced support for raising the minimum wage to ten-dollars ten-cents an hour. Opponents say higher minimum wages would hurt business and cost jobs.
Father Dean Einerson of St Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Rhinelander says it’s a question of fairness. He says in working with the Rhinelander community and helping host a monthly free meal called the Table, he’s seen firsthand how working families are having a hard time making ends meet. “I think for me, as a priest and as a citizen, the fight for 15 just flows naturally from the fact that we need to have things like the Table, the food pantry, and the weekend meal program.”
Einerson will speak at Thursday’s rally. Earlier this week, in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, President Barack Obama voiced support for raising the minimum wage to ten-dollars ten-cents an hour.