As part of a fight to earn $15 per hour and the right to form a union, fast-food workers across the nation went on strike Thursday.
Several were arrested as workers protested outside of fast-food restaurants and some held signs pledging to do “whatever it takes for $15 and union rights.” Workers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Yum Brands’ Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino’s Pizza were among those who planned to strike.
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Currently, the federal minimum wage stands at less than half of that, some $7.25 per hour—a rate that hasn’t changed in five years.
So how much do these fast-food workers really make? The mean hourly wage for fast-food cooks stands at $9.07 and the mean annual wage rings in at $18,870, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The lowest paid fast-food cooks work in West Virginia, where they earn $8.18. Arkansas cooks are paid the next least at $ 8.27, then Kentucky ($8.28), Mississippi ($8.32) and South Carolina ($8.36).
It’s worth noting that many of these states are places where residents also get the most bang for their buck relative to the rest of the U.S., based on lower prices for the same items.
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The highest paid fast-food cooks work in Connecticut, where they earn $11.69. This is followed by Vermont ($10.63), Alaska ($10.61), Washington ($10.23) and New Jersey ($9.91).