Iowans join fight for higher wages for fast food employees - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans join fight for higher wages for fast food employees


Across the country, people are taking a stand for fast-food workers.

Rallies were held in more than 100 cities Thursday to raise wages for workers. Rallies were held in both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

"I work as a babysitter and even my babysitting job pays more than this," said Tesse Beale of West Branch. 

Ralliers are calling for wages of $15 per hour -- more than double the current federal minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association says that would mean less jobs and higher prices. The ralliers disagree.

"A dollar value meal could be a dollar and a quarter value meal, and somebody wouldn't have to be on food stamps," said Jim Jacobson, a member of SEIU Local 199, which helped organize the rally.

Tawan Steel stopped by the Iowa City McDonalds at Benton and South Riverside for lunch as people rallied.

He fully backs paying employees more -- but would he pay double for his meal?

"No," said Steel, who lives in Iowa City. "No. No, I wouldn't."

McDonalds released a statement saying employees are eligible for advancement within the company and receive competitive pay and benefits.

Former employees say wages have not increased with the cost of living.

"How many years passed?" asked Mazahir Salih, who lives in Iowa City. "Almost 18 years and the minimum wage is still $7.25 -- only $2, you know, since I was working there."

Event organizers say that, while they would love to see $15 per hour, they'd be happy with any increase to the federal minimum wage.

The last time it went up was 2009.

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