CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO says the minimum wage should be raised after fast-food workers in 50 cities staged walkouts Thursday.

MetroNews file photo

Fast food workers called for higher pay during Thursday walkouts in 50 cities.

“There are a lot of families that are working two or three jobs, they’re working minimum wage jobs and they’re not able to afford to make a living,” said Kenny Perdue.

Workers with McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC planned a day-long walkout Thursday as part of their call for raising the minimum pay to $15 per hour. In some cases, workers are seeking the ability to form unions without retaliation.

Officials with the Service Employees International Union organized the protests. Some retail workers also joined the cause, which Perdue said was justified.

“I am in support of what SEIU is doing and there’s other issues out there with the minimum wage that I think we should be talking about,” he said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Analysts estimated the median pay for fast-food workers across the country is slightly more than $9 an hour or roughly $18,500 a year. The U.S. Census Bureau has set the poverty level at $23,000 annually for a family of four.

The minimum wage in West Virginia is $7.25 an hour.

Perdue said the cost of everything is always rising, though. “Those little things like that continually raise the income needed for people, the younger people, the people that are working two or three jobs, for them to make a living,” he said.

The minimum wage was last raised in 2009. President Barack Obama has proposed increasing that minimum wage to $9 an hour.

Organizers of Thursday’s protests in 50 cities claimed it was the largest strike to ever hit the $200 billion fast food industry.

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  • blugldmn

    Kenny's benefits probably are more than his salary..

  • blugldmn

    What's really appalling is that people have been conditioned to think Wendy's is a career that you should do your whole life.

    And democrats and unions agree.

    The union only wants the money for political purposes, they don't give a rats azz about workers.

  • CaptainQ

    Fast food workers are going to need every single penny they can get when the provisions of ObamaCare kick in and they all become 'less than full time' workers so their bosses won't have to supply them with health care coverage.

    For that matter, nearly all service workers in America will find themselves suddenly 'less than full time' thanks to ObamaCare.

  • thornton

    I wonder if $15/hr would guarantee that I get the correct order placed in the bag? $9/hr doesn't.

  • Matt

    They must be making enough to walk off the job today.........

  • Barry Bledsoe

    Does it surprise anyone that the leader of the AFL-CIO came out in support of this walkout? I am not against workers, whether union or not. But I am against unions who work hard to get as much as they can for the worker, even if at times it may not be deserved, or if it is to the detriment of the bigger picture.

    If a group of workers get high pay, great benefits, and long term post retirement benefits, but it causes the company to go bankrupt in the future, where is the benefit? I am not saying that many workers do not deserve more. But you cannot legitimately give more, if there is no more to give. (Look at the steel mills, the auto companies etc.)

    If we pay fast food workers $15 an hour, the price of the food will rise dramatically. In turn, some restaurants may close, once people stop buying the over priced burgers. Then where will the workers be?

    Moves like this just cause a chain reaction which nobody benefits from. Higher wages result in higher prices. Eventually, the $15 an hour is worth no more than when they were making $8.00 an hour.

    The story states that poverty level is at $23,000 for a family of four. First, the leader of a family of four should be doing more than flipping burgers. Get an education. Look for something better. If you have a bad habit, such as drinking, drugs or crime, STOP IT! Make changes in your life that will permit you to make positive forward steps!

    If you are a single female with no education or adequate job, don't have kids! This will prevent you from being a single parent of three, making less than the poverty level! Dads...take more responsibility for what you helped bring into the world! Get a job! Help pay to raise your kids and be a part of their life!

    It has been said over and over, but fast food is not supposed to be the job that you support your family with. It is supposed to give you spending money while you are in high school. It is supposed to help pay your college tuition and expenses. It is also for those who cannot legitimately work a higher skilled job. But the pay matches the skill. There are college graduates in West Virginia who don't make $15 an hour!

    And there ARE other jobs out there, if you are sober, drug free and don't have criminal record. Talk to anyone in the drilling industry. The standard response when you ask them abou applicants is that 33% simply don't have the qualifications to do the job. 33% CAN'T PASS THE DRUG TEST! And of the 33% who can be hired, many of them won't stay because they refuse to work 60-80 hours a week!

    Let's stop worrying about what others can "give me," and start thinking about what we can do to help ourselves. Do you want more pay per hour? Get out of the fast food business!

    Sorry for the length of this. I guess it hit a nerve.

    • tracyo64

      Very well stated. I couldn't agree more.

  • Hillbilly

    Lets see...
    They want $15 an hour. I order a bacon quarter pounder, McNuggets with BBQ sauce ( for the kid), fries, and a medium coke. I find there is no bacon on the burger, no ketchup for the fries and no BBQ sauce. Happens all the time. Making these mistakes in most other jobs would get people fired. Its a starter job, not a career.

  • wvu999

    Get what you pay for

    Also I'm sure you're all better than fast food employees and you deserve more money and benefits but they don't because they are beneath you.

    I bet most of you go to church on Sundays too.


    • Mac

      Pitiful, wvu999, you're just plain pitiful! You're painting the Liberal Sob-Story where you should receive more money and benefits just because you are entitled to receive them. I'll pray for you this Sunday in church, asking the good Lord to intervene on your behalf...and kick you in the behind for being so lazy.

    • GregG

      And the church is TAX EXEMPT!!!

    • CPA

      Better More educated.......yes

    • John weaver

      Wvu999, you captured the hatred and resentment on this page. Critics of working people can only resort to stereotypes and name calling because they no longer know what it is like to struggle as a worker. I know they will bring out the stories I worked hard for what I have. I heard them all. These pull yourself up stories still do not change reality: many people have to work hard just to survive from day to day as income between the workers and executives continues to grow at all time disparities. The lack of empathy for struggling people is deeply disturbing. I go to church on Sunday and hear the vitriolic words that I read in this web page. Sad displays of ethics and morals.

      • Rick

        John, I am not going to defend the pay of executives, because I agree that in a lot of cases it is disproportionatley high. However, the number of "workers" so far outweighs the number of high-paid executives, that the high pay really ends up bearing no statistical difference in the disparity and has little or no effect on the economy as a whole. I work five part-time jobs (yes, five) in order to make about $16,000 per year, so I am certainly not considered a highly paid person. But I have no jealousy or animosity toward highly paid executives who work hard and do a good job and are rewarded for it. The responsibility and stress that comes with those jobs are certainly worth some extra compensation.

        And speaking of stereotypes, I think wvu999 was stereotyping Christians as hypocrites by his/her statement, which, if so, in fact reflects hatred and resentment on his/her part.

        I go to church on Sundays, and I am not ashamed of it. May God bless the working people, may God bless America, and may God bless West Virginia.

  • Justin

    15/ hr get real...mmmmm a troop starting out makes _____ and u want 15 huh.

  • Charleston,WV

    I wonder what the minimum wage is in China?

    • ConservativeRealist

      We should put them on a boat and let them find out...they would also find out what happenms when you strike against the government...can you say, "re-education camps"...

  • Red Dwarf

    Strike away, folks. Fast food was the first thing I cut from my budget as the economy continues to fail. And a pay raise for the oaf that put cold coffee over ice instead of tea that my gf ordered at the Bridgeport McDonald's? I don't thinks so! Don't miss it at all and I know how my food is prepared now and my order is no longer messed up.

  • Matt


    This is coming from people who failed to take advantage of the free schools systems and became dropouts, failed to get a college education (they could have obtained for free), or failed to obey the law since most are criminals.

    Fast Food jobs are actually a "transitional" job, which means they are only intended for students or a means of employment for no more than 6 months until something better is found.

    And to beat everyone to their comments, yes, their are plenty of jobs out their besides fast food.
    You want a higher paying job? Make something of yourself and go get it like the rest of us!

    • teresa spurlock

      free college??? where?? when????? let us know -----all we hear is student loan loan >>>

      • Mac

        It's called the Promise Scholarship....and yes, you have to WORK hard in high school to achieve good grades AND score high enough on the ACT tests to qualify. Then, you have tuition free, college education. It's all about WORKING HARD TO EARN the PROMISE!

        • ConservativeRealist

          Well said Mac!!!...PLUS there are other academic and service scholarships - lets not forget the GI Bill - OH!!, I forgot, that means you have to serve your country...freedom isn't free. Heaven forbid we expect our youth to have to sacrifice anything for the American Dream...

  • Nobama

    Lets face it. If you work at a fastfood place you are not worth $15 an hour. Those types of jobs should be stepping stone jobs that want to make you better yourself. They are not career positions.

    • Larry

      Absolutely right!

  • bulldog95

    So what of the people that are maybe making 10 or 12 an hour, what do they get? They get nothing expect less money in their pockets after places are forced to raise the prices of their goods since they have to pay more to their workers. No business is going to eat the those prices and the food industry has one of the smallest profit margins. So lets kick up the min wage 1.75 more, while everyone else in a way takes a 1.75 pay cut due to increases in prices.

  • blugldmn

    I just gave fast food for good. The silver lining here is if Perdue can get them on strike in this state we could see a drastic reduction in the obesity rate.

    SEIU is hurting for money so they will try to organize anyone and anything to get those dues to campaign for communists/progrssives who really could care less about the workers they are extorting money from.

    Kenny Perdue is a blood sucking leech that lives off the fruits of other peoples hard work.

    Can someone post his salary and benefits as the President of the WV AFL-CIO....

    • Nostrdamus

      $75,000.00 plus a very lucrative benefit package.

      • John weaver

        Compare his salary to any top officer in any corporation and you will see a,drastic difference. The decline of the working person is the decline of the USA as a democracy.

        • Chuck

          The USA is not a democracy. It is a republic Or at least it used to be