Fast food workers, across North Carolina, are taking to the streets to protest for higher pay today. Workers are calling out fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Hardees, Wendy’s, and Burger King to pay their workers $15 an hour. Protests are scheduled in Charlotte, at the McDonald’s on Apex Highway in Durham, as well as a Hardees in Marion, NC.

Employees are protesting the minimum wage, which is currently at $7.25 per hour and has remained unchanged since 2009. They want a nationwide increase of minimum wage to $15 across the board, not just at fast food institutions. These protests come soon after McDonald’s announced it is testing artificial intelligence to run its drive thrus. The protests across the state were organized by groups such as NC Raise Up and Fight For $15.

Fast food restaurants have been facing a severe shortage of workers on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, LIke other service industry jobs, some locations have had to adopt reduced hours and are surviving on skeleton staff. Protests will also take place in 15 other cities across the country. Strikes are expected in Charleston S.C., Detroit, Mich., Flint, Mich., Houston, Texas, Milwaukee, Wisc., and St. Louis, Mo. Other protests are slated for various cities around the U.S in the coming days. Costco, Amazon, Starbucks and Target, are among major retailers and restaurants that have already raised starting pay to $15 an hour.

While I have no issue with workers getting paid a fair wage, I do not support mandating the minimum wage at $15. I think the shortages of workers we have already seen is the first step in the market correcting itself. Fast food restaurants are seeing that in order to attract and retain workers they will have to increase pay. We are also seeing hiring bonuses offered by many establishments. Allowing the market to adjust on its own, in my opinion, will lead to better results for businesses and workers alike. Do you agree with the fast food workers’ protest demands?

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