The minimum wage was last increased in 2009 to $ 7.25. Workers across North Carolina immediately demand better pay.
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Fast food workers in Charlotte staged a protest on Tuesday, demanding a minimum wage of at least $ 15 an hour.
The current minimum wage in North Carolina and South Carolina is $ 7.25 an hour, according to the US Department of Labor. Protesters gathered outside restaurants in Charlotte, Durham and Marion. The purpose of the protests is to raise awareness about pay increases for workers in the service sector. The Carolinas are one of 20 states with a minimum wage of $ 7.25, the lowest allowed.
The federal minimum wage was last increased in July 2009 to its current rate of $ 7.25 an hour. As the country continues to recover from the pandemic, many restaurants have tried to raise wages, sign bonuses and other perks to attract workers. One restaurant in Charlotte has gone so far as to add a 23% service charge to all bills so it can pay employees a living wage.
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“It has been 12 years since the minimum wage increased. Every year without an increase, things get worse for workers, ”said Precious Cole, an employee at Wendy’s restaurant in Durham. “Poverty is increasing. People’s mental health is deteriorating, because earning poverty wages can really drain you mentally.”
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Many of these companies, including McDonald’s, have reported a national shortage of workers. Earlier this year, McDonald’s announced it would increase the wages of workers at its 650 company-owned stores to an average of $ 15 an hour by 2024. Entry-level employees will earn $ 11 an hour .
A Charlotte recruiting agency said the shortage is due in part to increased federal and state unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Allen Tuttle, chief operating officer of Allegiance Staffing, said his clients had raised salaries and offered additional incentives to new hires. He said that in today’s market, companies are no longer just competing with others in their industry, but against everyone else.
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Lana Harris of WCNC Charlotte will have the latest information on service sector workers’ efforts to secure a minimum wage increase in the Carolinas. Her full report will be released on WCNC Charlotte News at 5 p.m. ET.