Fast-food workers in the Triangle want $15 an hour - WNCN: News, Weather

Fast-food workers in the Triangle want $15 an hour

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Fast-food workers in the Triangle continue their movement to rally the state in increasing the minimum wage.

Many of those workers and activists want the new minimum wage to be $15 an hour and they said it must be done or else taxpayers will continue to pay the cost.

Ashley Echevarria raises her two kids on minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.

"Me and my family can't live off of that," said Echevarria.

She works at a McDonald's in Durham and said her expenses are piling up. "We're on food stamps, and that's not even enough for us."

For Echevarria, who doesn't have a high school degree, she said it's hard to find a different job or else she would've left McDonald's months ago.

She attended a public forum at the N.C. Justice Center Tuesday night, hoping to find a community that wants exactly what she wants - $15 dollars an hour.

During the forum one activist said, "Fast food companies like McDonald's make billions of dollars a year, yet they force their workers to rely on taxpayers to get by."

Those at the rally want the minimum wage to jump to $15 an hour and explained it's not a crazy idea.

According to NC Raise Up, more than half of North Carolina's fast-food workers rely on government assistance. That's why they said increasing the minimum wage won't just be helping the workers, but also the taxpayers.

Sen. Earline Parmon said, "As long as they can keep us fearful and not organized, they will continue to treat us like this."

Not everyone agreed that raising the minimum wage is the answer.

David Schawel is an investment manager in Durham and said, "Companies would hire less people to do the same amount of work. After the government increased the minimum wage by 40 percent in 2006, the percent of 16 to 19 year olds that had jobs fell from 42 percent to 28 percent in a few years."

According to NC Raise Up, taxpayers in North Carolina pay $264 million a year to help subsidize workers who make minimum wage.

Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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