(KFYI News) – Protesters gathered outside an east Phoenix McDonald's restaurant on Thursday to renew their call for a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast-food workers.
Earlier this week, the chief counsel for the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the McDonald's corporation, not its individual franchisees, sets the wage rates and working conditions of workers in its restaurants.
"McDonald's can no longer hide behind its franchises for the company's poor treatment of workers," said Tomas Robles of LUCHA, Living United for Change in Arizona. "They can no longer say 'It's not our fault, it's your own community members who own the small business."
McDonald's worker Martha Rodriguez said they work hard and deserve a living wage. "For me, it's a little bit easier because I live with my mom. She helps me and I help her too. But I do feel for my coworkers who are trying to pay for a house, who are trying to support their families."
She added that it's not just the pay – it's also the working conditions. "Sometimes we burn ourselves and we have to cover it with mustard because they don't have a first aid kit."
Protesters also asked for the right to unionize without retaliation.
They dispute claims that raising the minimum wage of workers to $15 per hour would significantly raise the cost of menu items. LUCHA's Tomas Robles said "On average, the report says it would go up a few cents, maybe 17 cents on each burger."
PHOTO: Wearing t-shirts that say "Fight for 15", fast food workers and their supporters talk to reporters outside a Phoenix McDonald's on Thursday.