Local fast-food workers gathered Tuesday in front of a North Charleston McDonald's to call attention to their claim that the fast-food industry takes advantage of already underpaid employees.
The demonstration - one of at least 30 held Tuesday across the country - came a week after workers in New York, Michigan and California filed a lawsuit claiming McDonald's illegally withheld their wages and consistently refused to pay overtime.
A small group of local fast-food workers gathered on Ashley Phosphate Road to show their support for the legal action, even though they aren't part of it.
Among them was Adrian Fulcher, 23, who said he earns $7.40 an hour as a full-time cook and cashier. He talked about wage-related issues he said he has faced working for the chain.
Abdullah Muhammad, who said he is a former employee of a local McDonald's, also spoke at the demonstration to complain about how he was compensated.
McDonald's Corp. issued a company statement in response to the wage lawsuits.
"McDonald's and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald's restaurants. We are currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits. McDonald's and our independent owner-operators are each committed to undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the allegations and will take any necessary actions as they apply to our respective organizations," the statement said.
The fast-food protests held in several U.S. cities this week are part of a campaign launched in late 2012 by labor groups to build support for paying fast-food workers $15 an hour and to bring attention to the rights of low-wage workers. The North Charleston protest was organized by a group called the Carolina Workers Organizing Committee.
President Barack Obama wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, or about $21,000 a year for full-time work. That's up from the current pay of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year, which was last raised in 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail
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