St. Louis fast-food workers have come together to form the Mid-South Organizing Committee to fight for fair wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. We now represent workers from more than 15 fast food chains in St. Louis, who are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees like us enough to survive – enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation.
Fast-food is a billion dollar per year industry in St. Louis, and we believe that no one who works for a living in such a profitable business should be forced to rely on public assistance to provide for their family. One-quarter of St. Louis’ workforce works in the service economy, and in fast food the average annual salary is less than $19,000. When workers are paid a living wage, not only will it strengthen the economy but it will also improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
The median hourly wage for Combined Food Service and Preparation Workers, including fast-food, is $8.71 an hour in the St. Louis metro area. That is the lowest of any occupation in the city – lower than home health aides ($9.45 an hour), maids and housekeepers ($9.21 an hour) and child care workers ($9.21 an hour). Nationally, the median wage for this jobs $8.76 an hour, also lower than all other reported occupations.
Nationally fast food workers work only 24 hours a week on average, further reducing their low wages. A 24-hour-a-week worker making the St. Louis median fast food wage would earn only $10,870 in a year.
While the fast food industry promotes the stereotype that fast food workers are teenagers earning pocket money, nationally, the median age of fast food workers is over 28 years old, and women in those jobs have a median age of over 32 years. Women make up two-thirds of fast food workers. 62% of single mothers in the workforce are employed in retail or service industries.