The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 4, 2013

New York food service workers seek better pay

Seek pay of $15 per hour

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

The state of New York is already on that path. Its recently passed budget included plans to raise the state minimum wage, now at $7.25, to $9 by the end of 2015.

But even with that 24 percent hike, New York's minimum wage would remain below the roughly $11 hourly pay needed to lift a family of four above the poverty line.

Such pay-boosting efforts are welcome but not enough for workers struggling to make ends meet, said fast-food employee Joseph Barrera, who plans to join Thursday's protests.

The 22-year-old says he has earned $7.25 per hour for the 10 months he has worked at a KFC restaurant in Brooklyn. Even with a side job as a freelance mechanic, he still stretches to cover rent on his basement apartment that has no windows or heat.

"Anywhere where the cost of living is very, very high, $9 is not enough. Everyone should be able to make a living wage," Barrera said.

McDonald's Corp, the world's biggest fast-food chain by sales, in November said that the majority of its namesake U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business men and women who offer pay and benefits competitive within the quick service restaurant industry.

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