Fast Food Workers Target "Modern Day Slavery" in Ballwin

Workers are campaigning nationally and here in St. Louis County to raise pay for fast food employees to $15 per hour.

Fast food employees took their cause to a rally in Creve Coeur Tuesday and to the Wendy's restaurant in Ballwin. Video Credit: Gregg Palermo
Fast food employees took their cause to a rally in Creve Coeur Tuesday and to the Wendy's restaurant in Ballwin. Video Credit: Gregg Palermo

The movement to improve pay for the nation's fast food industry came to Ballwin Tuesday in the form of a protest at the Wendy's outlet on Manchester Road, where workers here were joined by others around the area.

Activists are pushing for an hourly wage of $15 and the ability to organize. Cinnamon Tigner, an employee there who took part in the protest instead of working Tuesday, described the work as "modern day slavery."

"I love my job, I love what I do," she told Patch by phone, but Tigner said she felt disrespected by restaurant management who she said act like they have power over employees. She said while $15 an hour was a goal, she'd like to see even a move to $10 or $11.

Tuesday's action started in East St. Louis at a McDonald's location and included a stop in Creve Coeur, where workers shared their story with hundreds of members of the United Mine Workers of America who were protesting the corporate headquarters of Arch Coal.

Debbie in Ballwin July 31, 2013 at 12:49 AM
These people are lucky to have jobs! Secondly, these jobs are not CAREER jobs! Thirdly, what do you think the price of a hamburger and fries will go up to if they have to pay these kind of wages? Come back to earth people!!
Mike K July 31, 2013 at 09:11 AM
You tell em, Debbie in Ballwin! If all of the self-serving 'job creators' didn't have to pay them at all, or even the farmers that grow our food, just think about it - everything would cost nothing! Where were you complaining about the outrageous prices we pay for clothes now that we can't have slaves picking cotton or children in Bangladesh sewing them? Oh, the horror! Do you get this upset about your tax dollars paying for the 'healthcare plan' of Walmart - namely welfare, Medicaid/Medicare, and the tax breaks for hiring disabled vets at minimum wage to look 'patriotic'?
Eric Tepen July 31, 2013 at 09:32 AM
It frustrates me to no end that people like Mike K are so dense. These workers are not forced to work at McDonalds, Walmart, etc.!!!! I they don't like it, find a company that will pay them $15 an hour!
Anne Gassel July 31, 2013 at 09:57 AM
The reality is that raising this wage would eliminate jobs. Instead of one person to run the fryolater and one to operate the grill, they will have one person do both jobs. Those that have the jobs will be terribly overworked and more kids, who would like to have an entry level job where they can learn the responsibility that goes with having a job, will not be able to get one. With a 5% margin you can bet that the franchise owner is not pocketing a huge salary at the expense of his workers. Intending to support a family on these kinds of jobs is like trying to pull a semi trailer with a chevy volt.
No Nonsense July 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM
The only places that will hire these low skilled worker is fast food and if they insist on using Nazi tactics to bully the businesses into a higher wage,,then those businesses will just close up shop. Are the people in Ballwin that stupid? Debbie needs to look at Detroit to see where all the 'organizing' leads. It's a dead end path. Don't like the wage you are paid? Get some skills and get a better paying job! Not an option for these losers,,they'd rather shut down the businesses and run them out of town.
Gregg Palermo July 31, 2013 at 10:44 AM
I'm glad that this story has prompted discussion. I'm just jumping in here to encourage the debate to stay above board and to discourage folks from using unnecessary terms that demean others. Thanks!
Keith Glass July 31, 2013 at 10:45 AM
It's idiots like these that are making the economic justification for robotic fast food. Punch your order in, pay, get the custom order waiting for you at the delivery window. . .
NanS July 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM
While I do feel bad for people who "have to" work at McDon's and other places for their "living" the GROUP BULLYING approach to making more money seems to be mis-directed. If you don't like your situation -change it! It's not always someone else's responsibility to make your life better, it's YOURS.
Mike K July 31, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Nancy - that is exactly what this group of fast food workers is doing. Management isn't offering them a fair working wage - they just want free labor - so they are taking action. You aren't in their shoes, so pontificate all you want merely because you don't like the action they chose for themselves. Offer something constructive here or else you are just kvetching over not getting free food and telling sorry for the managers who can't get free labor. Remember, these companies are offering the lowest amount possible that isn't illegal to these folks, and you are saying that is too much.... Wow. Just wow.
Morgan Fenwicke July 31, 2013 at 12:14 PM
That's okay, automation will replace them on the cheap. Gott's Roadside is already doing this. Demand higher wages, product costs increase, the public decides "naaahh.. not worth it.." to buy expensive burgers and then you'll lose your job... GOOD PLAN!
NanS July 31, 2013 at 12:19 PM
MIKE K: Free food? Hmmm. did not say anything about FREE FOOD in my comment. And how do you KNOW I am not in "their shoes?" AND where exactly did I discuss "free" labor? You seem to like to exaggerate, Mike. Also, please re-read your last sentence---I did not EVER SAY that they are being "paid too much" I work hard and taught my kids how to work and save. I was raised very very poor (not that I owe you an explanation) and had to scrape my way through many, many low-paying jobs. I volunteer in the community to help the poor and yes, the working poor.
Jason Oglesby July 31, 2013 at 03:55 PM
MIKE K, Really? I've worked low paying jobs in the past. When I was a kid and then I grew up, graduated from high-school then decided not to stay in a low wage job all my life. It was an easy job, but I wanted something more challenging and something that had more pay and benefits. If YOU don't make changes in your life no one else is going to do it for you. We have to have these low wage jobs for those that are just getting starting their careers. Don't enjoy your job or pay, can't get a promotion then change jobs. I was so glad to have my first job and get paid that "low" wage. Then I promoted myself into a career field that pays a lot better. Check out where this guy started his career out at: James Alan Skinner (born 1944 in Illinois) is an American business executive. He was the Vice Chairman and CEO of McDonald's Corporation. Skinner began his career with McDonald's in 1971 as a restaurant manager trainee in Carpentersville, Illinois.
Andy Jones July 31, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Remind me again why we should feel sorry for people that have a job, that they applied for, knowing what the wage was going to be... Another great example of our entitlement society...
Jason Oglesby July 31, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Thank you, Andy. If I were them I wouldn't be making any complaints about my job in this economy. There are people out there with PhD's that are without jobs. I am happy that I actually have a job. If you don't like your job, move on.
Eric Tepen August 01, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Mike K probably has good intentions, but he just doesn't have any common sense. He is either a union guy, comes from a well-to-do family where he doesn't really have to work, or was forced into slavery in a 3rd world country.
Axis August 16, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Hmm . . . this all reminds me of Harry Hooton as a techno-anarchist. He spoke the issue of technology, human populace and a need to survive. Fast food makes billions of dollars, is largely supported by an exponential of obese and unhealthy people, or those seeking convenience about their lives, yet the workers make very little of what goes into the cheap ingredients, for "reasonable prices" The patrons talk down on the pariahs cooking the food, disregarding any notion that there are legitimate reasons why people work in fast food, but they themselves do not protest fast food as a cruel means to entrap the lazy or disadvantaged. I could rant for a while . . . but I find neither side with large cause to complain or pontificate. I find more empathy for those who need a job and will do anything to support themselves and their family. I have no respect for those who are without empathy or ability to even try to understand that some people just want to survive . . . and have stories to tell. Nobody wants to listen to anyone else's story cause "mine" is the only one that matters . . . or exists.
Jason Oglesby August 16, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Your $15.00 an hour employee? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAEy2B8S0qk
Debbie in Ballwin August 16, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Axis....It is called Capitalism, businesses are operating to make money, they are paying wages to suit the jobs performed, not based on company earnings. Tons of people started out working in the fast food industry including myself. So your claims of others not understanding are not correct, and yes everyone has a story to tell but most don't need their stories told to make common sense comments. When I read your "rant" I was amazed at your notion that because people disagree with the idea of someone making $15. an hour for flippin burgers, you say they have no empathy for others. You obviously missed the whole point, everyone has struggles, but they should not expect others to pay them a ridicules wage for a food service job! Everyone knows those are not high paying jobs, and should act accordingly. People who work these kinds of jobs and have more then one job to care for their families, are the ones who deserve RESPECT, not the ones who have jobs and then turn around and throw their tantrums because they don't feel they make enough money! Like I said they should be grateful THEY HAVE A JOB!!
Axis August 17, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Debbie; No . . . you missed the point of my 'rant.' It was simply to add commentary against those who talk of fast food employees as if they are serfs who, as you say, "should be grateful they have a job." I have no doubt to whether they are grateful, but I did address the need to survive in an age where convenience and technology are becoming detriments to the needs of certain people / backgrounds. I've owned my business for 5 years, I more than understand and embrace the aspects of capitalism, but at what point is there a loyalty and return to those that allow for profits to generate? The other aim of my post was to address that these are people who have a job at all and are looking for a competitive wage against the current nature of economy and expense. In fact, I also mentioned, quote, "I find neither side with large cause to complain or pontificate." I don't think $15+ an hour is justified in fast food, but I also don't see the absolute minimum payment as acceptable when it is hardly a means to support an individual, let alone a small family. I point out that others lack empathy where they parrot as you did, "they should be grateful they have jobs at all," which says nothing about whether the wage is adequate to live on -- which I why I mention every person has a story, it isn't so simple to blanket every fast food employee as unworthy of a living wage. The fact that they are working at all shows they have good intention / desire to survive and or provide for others. Beyond that, I have no clue what the point of your comment is other than to show you missed my point entirely.
Eric Tepen August 17, 2013 at 09:06 AM
Axis, tell us what company you run, so that the protesters are ready to start working for you as soon as there is an opening. They will greatly appreciate the opportunity you mandated for employers regardless of skill level. You can show other employers how a business should be run. Profits are not as important as they are bragged up to be, correct?
Axis August 17, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Eric, did you even read my comment? Rather, what is it that I have mandated? And when did I say profits are not important? For the second time I'll quote myself from my first comment, "I find neither side with large cause to complain or pontificate." I have taken neither the side of the corporations nor the workers, but I have posed several questions that remain ignored / misrepresented by yourself and Debbie. On one hand I am looking to gain more perspective from others besides, "this is slavery!" or "suck it up, you have a job." On the other I always find it fascinating how people stand on a stump and shout at others when they don't have other insights. Thanks for reinforcing the consistency of the latter.
Debbie in Ballwin August 18, 2013 at 07:20 PM
AXIS>>>>You continue to ignore or obviously just don't get others points of view since they do not coincide with your own. Food service jobs spoken about here are not meant to support a family on, PERIOD!! It is obvious now that your commenting on here is just to be obnoxious and stir up useless conversation. You sound like a college educated liberal who has no sense at all!!
Axis August 18, 2013 at 10:25 PM
LLOL . . . which means I literally laughed out loud, not just in a figurative form of internet banter. College educated, I am. Liberal? Furthest thing from it -- equally distal that of a modern day 'conservative'. As for useless conversation? I asked questions that you and Eric did not answer, but instead reacted emotionally and not rationally. I comprehend that your entire view is that fast food jobs are not meant to be family supporting careers -- and I never stated such a job is meant to be a family supporting career, so you're arguing against yourself. You still fail to address / answer anything I've asked. Even with everything said the reminder repeats, I am not on either side of the argument, but simply asking questions to gain perspective -- and you are showing an attitude of entitlement, ignorance and contempt for anything that isn't a part of your world view. The only perspective I have gained from reading your blabber is that you are likely *not* a liberal.
Eric Tepen August 20, 2013 at 07:47 AM
Axis sounds very much like the poster "Disgusting" who bashed Walmart. Lots of theory learned in college but no real world common sense. Tries to confuse simple issues by writing long drawn out circular posts. Disgusting is that you?
Axis August 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM
No, I can assure you that post is not from this guy -- I only started posting when this article went up and I saw some of the hollow catch-phrase replies posted here. As for "no real world common sense," this is yet another vacuous statement that offers no insight into your issue with the questions I asked. I don't know why people who ask questions without choosing a side is such a threat / issue with you, but perhaps that is yet another question you should not explore.


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