Fast food workers and other low-wage earners want lawmakers to give them a raise up to $15 s an hour, arguing that they just can't support themselves on the money paid for counter-jockey work.
Fast Food, "big box" retail store and home care workers would earn a minimum of fifteen dollars an hour under a package of legislation heard by the Legislature's Labor and Workforce Development Committee Tuesday.
A throng of employees from McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts and other fast food establishments took to the State House hallways to deliver petitions to Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and other leaders.
"I'm a single mother trying to fight to get my daughter back, trying to get my place. But getting paid $9 an hour is not enough," said Theresa Pennington, 28, of Lowell, who says low-wage earners like herself need to the extra income to make ends meet in the Greater Boston market.
Dunkin' Donuts is not, what you'd call "on board" with this. In a statement about the $15 an hour wage issue, Dunkies' corporate front office made it clear that they support a debate on "reasonable increases to the minimum wage" and that their legions of franchisees already pay above the current $9 an hour minimum wage to all but the least experienced employees.
"Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants provide employment opportunities for students, for those who need seasonal and part-time work and they also provide a career ladder for those who want to stay with the fast food industry and work their way into management or become a franchise owner themselves," the statement
Watch the protest:
Also in their statement, Dunkin' reminds us that their "restaurants are independently owned and operated by individual franchisees who are solely responsible for making their own business decisions, including employment decisions such as schedules, wages and benefits they offer their employees."
The group that gathered the workers at the State house Tuesday, the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, was behind the successful campaign to boost the state minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2013 and are also trying to secure increases for tipped employees like restaurant servers.
The push comes after New York state instituted a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers this year.
But the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, the group that represents numerous full-service dining establishments and the employers of tipped workers thinks things are pretty good for minimum wage workers right now. After all, the state just passed a law to raise the general minimum wage in 2013
"We have not even reached the second increase of a well thought out three step increase. I think it is prudent that we let that process play out and focus our attention on other issues that impact the Commonwealth's workforce," said MRA president Bob Luz.