INSTITUTE INDEX: Striking for fast food justice

Fast food workers went on strike in cities across the country this week to demand higher pay. (Graphic from the SEIU.)

Number of U.S. cities where fast food workers waged strikes this week as part of a campaign to raise wages: 58

Number of those cities in the South: 11*

Number of workers in the Triangle region of North Carolina, the state with the nation's lowest unionization rate, who joined the strike: about 50

Hourly pay they're demanding: $15

Current federal minimum wage: $7.25

Median hour pay nationally for fast food workers: $8.94

Annual salary that amounts to for someone working full-time, which many fast food workers do not: about $18,500

The Census Bureau's poverty-level income threshold for a family of four: $23,000

Value of the U.S. fast-food sector: $200 billion

Profits earned last year alone by McDonald's: $5.47 billion

Lucia Gareia Legua's weekly earnings from her job at a McDonald's in Raleigh, N.C., a wage that forces her to rely on food stamps to feed her three children: about $200

As of 2005, number of children of McDonald's employees in Alabama who were enrolled in Medicaid, the taxpayer-supported public health care program for the poor: 1,931

Number of children of McDonald's employees in Florida who were enrolled in Medicaid in 2005: 8,100

Of those workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, percent who are at least 20 years old: 88

Who are at least 40 years old: 35.5

Who are women: 56

Who have children: 28

Who work 35 hours per week or more: 55

Since 1990, percent decline in manufacturing's share of U.S. jobs: 50

Percent increase in food service jobs over the same period: 25

* Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C,; Gretna, La.; Houston; Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans; Raleigh, N.C.

(Click on figure to go to source.)