Tsedeye Gebreselassie, NELP (National Employment Law Project) staff attorney:
...McDonald's made $5.5 billion in profits in the last year and the money is clearly there. It just needs to trickle down to the workers.
And while a small amount of workers may make the minimum wage, the average wage in this industry for the front line workers is less than $9.
And while some, a very small few, may go on to better-paying jobs in the industry, in general, there's a real lack of upward mobility.
And that's a real problem. And you saw that with the strikes. People who have been working for more than a decade and were still making a single-digit hourly wage, because the industry pay is flat, only 2% of the jobs are managerial. The vast majority are these front line positions where the pay is very low.
Dorian Warren, Columbia University:
Remember, this is in the memory of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. And one of those demands was a $2 minimum wage, which would be about $13 and change today. So the workers like Miss Davis and their colleagues, they're right on the money, so to speak, in terms of what it will take to live a livable life...
"It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it," as Upton Sinclair said once. With all due respect, we know that these companies can afford it. And in fact, the very franchisees [small business owners] are rebelling against the parent corporations, because they're getting squeezed.
So when Miss Davis goes on strike with her colleagues, she's not striking against the franchisees, she's striking against the parent corporations that make the $5 billion in profit and can afford to ease up on their franchisees, so the franchisees can then pay their workers a livable wage.