Fast- Food workers protest for higher wages

Dec 6, 2013

Fast-Food workers picket outside of the Burger King on Business Loop 70 on December 5, 2013.
Credit Caitlyn Gallip / KBIA

Protestors took the sidewalk on Thursday demanding higher wages and the ability to form a union for the 2300 Fast-food workers in Columbia.

In more than 100 cities across the country, protests brought together various industry workers asking for a higher, more livable wage and the ability to form unions.

Passersby honk as a group of protestors chant "We cannot survive on $7.35" in front of the Burger King on Business Loop-70 in Columbia. Standing in 20 degree weather, the protestors demand higher wages and the ability to form a union.

For Ann Quarles, a cook at Hardee's, the protest is about providing more for her family and standing up for all fast-food workers.

"I've got three kids," Quarles said.

"They're about to enter the workforce and I'm trying to do that for them. You don't know how hard we work. We work very hard, and I'm just going to keep my head up."

The Reverend Molly Housh Gordon of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia got involved with the Columbia protest after colleagues in St. Louis and Kansas City started telling her about protests there.

"I feel like it's a sad state in our system when hard working people can't survive on the wages they're being paid," Housh Gordon said.

Quarles works up to 30 hours a week for $8.65 an hour.  According to MIT's Livable Wage Calculator, an adult with one child, in Boone County would need to make $16.47 an hour working full time to afford the basics.