Workers rally at 39th and Broadway for higher wages

Hundreds of people rallied and marched in Midtown Tuesday in a campaign to raise pay and win union rights for fast-food and retail workers.

The action by Stand Up KC is part of a movement this week that features such actions in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee and Flint, Mich., organizers say.

The workers are calling for pay of $15 an hour and rights to form unions without retaliation.

The announcement for the Tuesday rally says the average fast food worker is 28 and the average retail worker is 38.

It also states: “Both make about $7 .35 an hour, have no healthcare, no paid sick days or vacation pay and face daily discrimination. Top brands like McDonald’s make $5.4 million in profit, pay their CEO $14 million….”

The rally started at Gillham Park at 39th Street and Gillham Road and a march after it ended at the Jimmy John’s restaurant at 39th Street and Broadway.

The corporate CEO of Jimmy John’s is a vocal opponent of President Obama’s health care law, the Kansas City Star reported today.

The actions are organized by groups such as Jobs With Justice and by unions and clergy.

Supporters say they have broad implications because employers have added many low-wage jobs in the wake of the recession.

Federal researchers project that seven of the 10 fastest growing jobs for the next decade will be low-wage positions, the Washington Post reported last week.

Those representing fast food companies say restaurants operate on low profit margins and give workers an opportunity to move up to better jobs.

But the National Employment Law Project reported Thursday that fewer than one in 50 jobs in fast-food restaurants are in management positions, the Post reported.

A national poll released by law project found that 75 percent of Americans favor increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

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