Fast food workers continue strike to raise minimum wage

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You might have to wait a little longer for your Big Mac or Whopper on May 15th.  That’s when thousands of fast food workers are planning to go on strike in the U.S. and overseas.

Right now, the average hourly rate for a fast food employee is around $9 in the U.S.  Western New England University economics professor Karl Petrick told 22News, boosting wages to $10.10 per hour, could be a good thing.

“A big benefit for local businesses, more money in the economy, and the amount of impact in terms of prices would be negligible,” Petrick said.

To compensate for paying a higher minimum wage, fast food chains would likely raise prices, an idea not many consumers are thrilled about. Some western Massachusetts told 22News they just don’t think a fast food worker should earn more than $9 an hour.

“Nine dollars I think is very fair,” said Adelai Riche of Springfield.  “With people with college degrees coming straight out of college, they’re making $12, $13, $14, so there has to be some type of balance.”

Most economists say raising the minimum wage could save the country money. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, if the U.S. was to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the country could save more than $4.5 billion in spending on food stamps.

Economist Robert Pollin estimated that a hike to $10.50 an hour would only result in the cost of a Big Mac, for example, going up by a ten cents. However, the Congressional Budget Office projects that a hike to $10.10 could cost the economy 500,000 jobs.

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