First Hill McDonald’s one of 25 “big burger chains” targeted in one-day boycott

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Supporters of a $15 an hour wage rally outside the First Hill McDonald’s (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Around 40 workers and organizers marched outside the First Hill McDonald’s Thursday morning to demand higher wages for workers, part of a one-day boycott of fast-food burger chains in Seattle.

The boycott was part of Working Washington’s “Boycott McPoverty” campaign to continue to push for a $15 an hour minimum wage in the city. Given Capitol Hill’s dearth of “big burger chains,” the First Hill restaurant was the only one to be targeted in the area.

Joining the boycott line was Kyle Lynch, a full-time worker at the First Hill McDonald’s who told CHS that his $9.32 an hour wage is not enough to support his family. “I have a six-month-old and fiancé I have to support,” he said. “It’s not livable.”

Lynch, 32, said he’s been working in fast food on and off since 2001 and is looking for a different job to support his family.

Around 25 Burger Kings, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s were targeted for boycotts Wednesday. City council member Kshama Sawant, who campaigned strongly on a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle, planned to join an afternoon boycott at a downtown McDondald’s.

Sage Wilson, a spokesperson for the boycott’s organizing group Working Washington, praised the ongoing efforts of mayor Ed Murray to push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle

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(Photo: Bryan Cohen)

“The mayor’s coalition is a great step forward, but if we let the pressure die down we won’t get what we want,” Wilson said.

Managers at the McDonald’s declined to comment on the boycott and referred us to a McDonald’s PR firm.

While local media hovered around protestors outside, Carey Christian bought his usual morning coffee inside the McDonald’s. Christian said he thinks large, multinational corporations like McDonald’s should pay higher wages, but he was concerned how a $15 an hour wage would hurt more local businesses. “I would’ve went to Starbucks, but it’s only $1 here and it’s all I had,” he said.

To vet those concerns of local businesses, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce held a “Income Inequality Members Only Discussion” on Monday at Elliott Bay Book Company as an “opportunity for questions and answers, feedback from members and discussion at the event.” The discussion kicked off a week of minimum-wage focused events that included a visit by Sen. Patty Murray to Capitol Hill and mayor Murray’s State of the City address. Recent polling showed that 71% of Capitol Hill-area voters support a $15/hour minimum.

Here’s a map of the restaurants on Thursday’s boycott list:

17 thoughts on “First Hill McDonald’s one of 25 “big burger chains” targeted in one-day boycott

  1. I support their fight for higher wages but I don’t support fast food and how it’s turning people in many places in this country into unhealthy lard asses which in turn is driving up health care costs and screwing over the rest of us who don’t eat that shit food. So good luck, but I hope your increased wages drives your employer out of business I guess.

  2. “a full-time worker at the First Hill McDonald’s who told CHS that his $9.32 an hour wage is not enough to support his family. ”I have a six-month-old and fiancé I have to support,” he said. “It’s not livable.””

    I guess I’m old but I never thought that a FF worker would/should be a able to support a family. This line of work is merely a stepping stone in life as one advances themselves.

    I’m all for a wage increase but to me, $5 an hour is a bit excessive to ask for all at once.

    • Yes!…finally some common sense. Good comment Timmy.

      If 71% of people on Capitol Hill actually support the $15 wage for FF workers and other low skill jobs, then they just clearly don’t understand the true negative impact to business. It’s just plain ignorance….or arrogance. I’m not sure which.

    • I would add that no one is forcing Mr. Lynch to work at McDonald’s. If he wants to make more money in life, he needs to get more education and/or training in order to land a better job, instead of demanding a 60% pay increase in the job he has.

      And the obvious…maybe he should have thought about his income a little more before he decided to become a father.

      • “And the obvious…maybe he should have thought about his income a little more before he decided to become a father.”

        Are you implying that having a family is a class privilege? Reserved for those who can “afford” it?

        • No I am not implying that. I’m simply saying that someone shouldn’t have a child until they can afford it. If Mr Lynch feels his wages are too low to support his fiancé and infant, then he needs to get a different job with higher wages.

          • “I’m simply saying that someone shouldn’t have a child until they can afford it.”

            Then the answer to my question is yes. Read it again.

            “If Mr Lynch feels his wages are too low to support his fiancé and infant, then he needs to get a different job with higher wages.”

            Or organize and demand the pay rate he is worth. That seems to be working, doesn’t it?

          • Even 15 an hour is tough to support a family of 3. Since you’re a passionate advocate for him will you help babysit for free instead of putting words in calhoun’s mouth?

  3. Fast food jobs are not meant to be a career. You shouldn’t be working the deep fryer at Mickey D’s as a career. It is a high school/college or in between job. Not one that commands $15 or more per hour.

    • The bulk of the jobs being created in this economy are low-paying retail and service jobs. People are stuck in these McJobs for the foreseeable future. But that shouldn’t be a barrier to dignity and a living wage. Working people shouldn’t live in poverty. We shouldn’t be subsidizing corporations that force their workers to subsist with food stamps and Medicaid.

  4. How thoughtless some of our responses can be.We assume everyone has the same learning abilities,personal circumstances, looks,verbal skills or other personal elements that may impede employment progression. There are some folks that have overcome great personal tragedies and social challenges and they are running out of “bootstrap” to pull themselves up with.
    They show up for work on time and work hard at a crappy job because they haven’t had the energy to move on.
    I also can understand the challenge for small businesses, it is a tough issue that needs this kind of attention.

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