By Gintautas Dumcius
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE -- Workers at Boston fast food restaurants on Thursday are expected to launch another round of walk-outs.
Bay State employees at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Dunkin' Donuts will join fast food workers in 150 other U.S. cities who will walk off their jobs as part of a bid for higher pay, organizers say.
There are more than 42,000 fast food workers in Boston, earning a median wage of $9.30 an hour, according to MassUniting, a coalition of labor and community groups backing the workers.
The fast food workers are pushing for unionization and $15 an hour. They are expected to be joined by clergy, elected officials, and home care workers, organizers say.
The latest planned walk-out comes after a series of strikes across the country over the last two years, as workers seek to put pressure on employers like McDonald's to raise wages.
"It's not possible to live on what we're making now," said Kyle King, a 46-year-old Roxbury resident who has worked at a Burger King in Boston for 10 years.
King said he and others have mounted strikes four times over the last year, and he has seen his wage recently rise to $9 from $8.15 partly as a result. "We're hoping to get our message across and intensify the whole thing," he told the News Service on Wednesday.
Fast food workers have hailed a July ruling from the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel, saying that McDonald's can be held liable as a joint employer with franchisees on wage and workers' rights issues.
"We've had some small victories over the last couple of months but it's not enough," King said. "We need a living wage. Not a part-time wage, a living wage."
The Massachusetts minimum wage, under a law approved this summer, is scheduled on Jan. 1, 2015 to rise from $8 to $9 an hour, increasing to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016 and $11 an hour Jan. 1, 2017.