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Fast food workers mull next move in wage fight

July 25, 2014, 12:54 PM UTC
Fast-Food Strikes in 50 U.S. Cities Seeking $15 Per Hour
Fast-food workers and supporters organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) protest in front of a McDonald's Corp. billboard on the street in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Fast-food workers in 50 U.S. cities plan to walk off the job today, ratcheting up pressure on the industry to raise wages and demanding the right to wages of $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum of $7.25. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo by Bloomberg—Getty Images

Fast food workers are reportedly planning a two-day meeting in suburban Chicago this weekend to prep a heightened campaign for higher pay and union representation.

More than 1,000 workers are expected to attend sessions on Friday and Saturday to discuss a strategy to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, the Associated Press reported, citing a representative of the Service Employees International Union.

Fast-food protests in recent months have targeted the low wages and stingy benefits by employers such as McDonald’s (MCD) and Burger King (BKW). McDonald’s has been one of the most popular protest targets, and while the company’s CEO Don Thompson last month said he would support a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25, some workers say that isn’t enough.

The debate about a higher minimum wage has been a high-profile issue in the U.S. Some companies, such as Sweden-based Ikea and clothing purveyor Gap (GPS), have voluntarily announced plans to raise their minimum wages. The concept got a huge boost in early 2013, when President Obama announced his support for a higher minimum wage in this State of the Union address.

Meanwhile, states and cities have sought to announce their own wage increases above the federal minimum, especially after Seattle raised its $15 an hour minimum wage in early June. Lost Angeles recently joined the fray, as a group of activists there submitted a proposal for a ballot initiative on pay.