‘Boycott McPoverty’ Protests Give Minimum Wage Workers a Platform to Tell Their Stories

Dozens picketed outside of the McDonald’s on Third Avenue and Pine Street Thursday afternoon, continuing to call for a $15 minimum wage. The restaurant was one of 25 fast food joints targeted throughout the day as part of a city-wide “Boycott McPoverty” campaign held by fast food employees and supporters of the minimum wage increase. Many protested with signs and chants while others gave speeches and shared their stories.

Kyle Lynch, a worker at the Mcdonald’s on Madison Street marched in several of the protests throughout the day and said his $9.32 an hour wage (the current minimum in Washington state) was not enough to support his fiance and their six-month old daughter.

“[I would] like to put money away for my daughter to go to college when she gets older and you can’t really do that working at McDonald’s,” said Lynch, who hopes to go back to school and get a degree that would help him become a web programmer. However, he said he can’t due to the number of hours he has to work to support his family.

Martina Phelps, who has worked at Mcdonald’s for the past five months, echoed a similar sentiments, saying that a $15 wage would provide her with enough income to pay for housing and attend school.

“We should be able to live off of the money we worked so hard for,” Phelps said.

Phelps also said she saw a lot of support from employees and managers inside the restaurants.

City councilmember Kshama Sawant, who was elected in November on a platform that included the wage increase, also spoke outside the downtown McDonald’s, expressing her support for the marchers.

Not all of the day’s protests were as well-attended or immediately effective as the one downtown. Earlier in the day, a handful of protesters boycotted the Mcdonald’s near University Village. Despite the picketing, and enthusiastic chanting by the marchers, it was business as usual at the U-district golden arches as customers entered through the doors on the other side of the building.

View photos of the protests here .

RELATED: Click here to read more tales of minimum wage workers in Seattle Weekly ’s cover story, “Low-Wage Nation.”

 
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