After lawmakers in California and New York signed onto legislation that will lift their minimum wages to $15 an hour by 2022, Richmond activists gathered outside of a McDonald’s restaurant on April 14 with demands for similar raises.
The group, which was in solidarity with workers across the country as part of a national day of action initiated by minimum wage advocacy group Fight for $15, featured individuals carrying signs and chanting that the $7.25 minimum wage rate has “got to go.”
“Homecare workers make $9.04 an hour. We’re caring for other people, we make sure they stay dry, we make sure they stay clean, we make sure they can get medication,” said Lauren Clark, a Richmond homecare worker. “We do all this stuff to make sure someone else has a better quality of life, but when we got home we can’t take care of our kids.”
The protest took place outside of the McDonald’s at the intersection of W. Broad St. and N. Boulevard. According to a press release issued by Progress Virginia Director Anna Scholl, the protest, which was timed to occur a day before Tax Day, was meant to “highlight how workers and communities are being starved of the money needed to build a bright future.”
McDonald’s is the world’s second-largest employer and the industry leader in the fast-food and service economy with more than 1.7 million employees, according to the company website. The Progress Virginia press release called the chain “a symbol of what’s wrong with the economy.”
Cheers rung as cars drove by and honked in support of the dozens of protesters occupying the sidewalk in front of the McDonald’s. Among the protesters was child care worker Amanda Ochart.
“The cost of living has gone up so much in the last couple years, it makes sense to pay workers a living wage,” Orchard said. “People who are business owners understand that when people have more money to spend, they can go out and buy those services and those goods and business can boom. It makes sense.”
Although the federal minimum wage has stood at $7.25 an hour since 2009, 30 states have minimum wages above the federal threshold. California and New York’s act to gradually raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour will be the highest in the nation thus far.
Print News Editor, Fadel Allassan
Fadel is a sophomore print journalism major. He is fluent in English, French and Sarcasm, and he probably doesn’t like you. Fadel enjoys writing about politics and making people drive him to Cook-Out. // Facebook | LinkedIn