Fast food workers continue to fight for higher pay


Fast food workers say they do not want to receive government assistance to survive and they find the situation they are in embarrassing.

"It's really sad that I have to step out here and I can't speak to my boss and let him know that I need more money. I'm by myself. It's ridiculous," said fast food worker Tenesha Houston.

Fast food workers, some who work a full 40 hours a week, say there is no reason why they should have to rely on public assistance.

The workers want to make enough money to stand on their own, or in one woman's case, earn enough to have her own place to live.

"I'm forced to stay in spare bedrooms in my children's house and that shouldn't be," said fast food worker Willietta Dukes.

A new study found more than half of fast food workers in North Carolina are relying on public assistance.

The research says it costs the state more than $264,000,000 a year.

The workers are pushing for a higher minimum wage, but they are not solely blaming the federal government for what they take home every week. Employees say companies are abusing the system and can afford to give more.

For instance, McDonald's saw sales increase in the second quarter and returned $1.2 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

"As with most small businesses, wages are based on local wage laws and are competitive to similar jobs in that market," explained a McDonald's spokesperson in a statement to Eyewitness News.

Nonetheless, workers say they feel degraded.

"I just think it's so unfair. I've work this hard over all these years and these people are prospering," said Dukes.

"It's really embarrassing when you work so many hours and work so hard that you're bringing home this small paycheck and not only is it hard to barely pay the rent, I can't buy any food," added Houston.

However, the National Restaurant Association says only five percent of restaurant employees earn the minimum wage and most are part-time.

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