McDonald’s employees in Orlando and Miami protest for $15 wage

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    Shortly after the House of Representatives in Washington voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour on Thursday, union activists announced that McDonald’s employees in 10 American cities – including Miami and Orlando – will rally today, calling on the fast food giant to raise salaries to $15 as well.

    The national rallies are being sponsored by the “Fight for $15” coalition, which was created in 2012 by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Although it began with fast-food workers demanding a raise, the national campaign has since spread to home health aides, child care teachers and adjunct professors. The movement has simultaneously called for workers to be unionized.

    The minimum wage currently in Florida is $8.46 an hour. Orlando-based attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan is aiming to put a measure on the 2020 ballot that would ultimately raise it to $15.

    Since the effort began, several retail giants have announced plans to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour, including Target, Amazon, and even Disney, which reached a deal with its unions to pay a minimum of $15 at Disneyland in Southern California and at Disney World in Orlando by 2021.

    Currently, most employees at Disney World make less than $11 an hour, but an agreement reached last fall between Disney management and labor unions means that the starting wage will reach $13 an hour this September, $14 in October 2020 and $15 in October 2021.

    While McDonald’s has not addressed the call to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour, a spokesperson for the corporation told CNBC last year the company has allocated $150 million over five years for employee benefit programs like tuition assistance to help employees earn college and high school diplomas.

    In addition to Miami and Orlando, McDonald’s employees intend to rally on Friday in Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis and Durham, North Carolina.

    Mitch Perry
    Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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