(Updated) Protests are taking place today across Canada and in 40 other countries to demand a higher minimum wage.
Here in Hamilton, people protested at the McDonald’s on Dundurn & Main. Many of the rallies targeted McDonald’s. The company’s U.S. division recently announced a $1 pay raise but Fight For $15 says the raise does not apply to the 90 per cent of workers in franchises who make minimum wage.
Service Employees International Union executive vice-president Carol McDowell told CHCH News “It’s about a fair living wage in the U.S. for fast food workers. Corporate giants like McDonald’s should be paying a fair living wage.”
In Ontario the minimum wage is $11 an hour, but in Hamilton the cost of living is calculated at $14.95 cents an hour.
While some think a raise is a good thing, others believe increasing the minimum wage would increase the cost of living and dramatically affect small businesses.
Fight For $15 has also drawn attention politically. Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair has proposed a $15 federal minimum wage. He says the NDP plan would start minimum wage at $12 an hour, rising to $15 by 2019. This would reverse the Liberal government’s 1996 decision to scrap the federal minimum wage.
Each province and territory decides their own ranging from $10, to $11 in Ontario.