Wilmington fast food workers set to strike on Thursday

(file/WHYY)

(file/WHYY)

Workers at four fast-food restaurant chains in Wilmington are set to walk off their jobs on Thursday. 

Labor officials announced the strike on Tuesday, saying that workers from local McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and KFC will demonstrate in order to gain attention to their requests for higher wages and better working conditions.

Similar strikes are expected to place in over 150 cities across the country.

Locally, workers will be joined on the picket lines by labor advocates, including state Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington-West, who recently convened a panel tasked with developing new policy ideas on wage and labor issues. The panel held its first meeting last Wednesday.

The Low-Wage and Service Worker Task Force, made up of state law makers, local community leaders and business and union organizations, heard testimony from roughly a dozen experts who provided research on how low-wage directly impacts Delawareans.

Earlier this year, Delaware passed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour by June 1, 2015. Many advocates have argued that workers should be getting around $15 an hour in order to maintain a “livable wage,” which is income that would allow the employee to afford basic needs such as rent, food, utilities, insurance and transportation without assistance.

Experts say a livable wage would increase the demand for goods and services, creating more jobs and stimulating the local economy. They also say it would reduce the need for public assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid, saving taxpayer dollars.

Opponents of increasing minimum wage have argued that small businesses wouldn’t be able to afford it. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.