WATCH ABOVE: Protestors with “Fight for $15 and Fairness” campaign rallied at several locations throughout the city. Lama Nicolas reports
TORONTO – Protests are being held Wednesday in Ontario as part of a mass demonstration across North America to support the Fight for $15 and Fairness minimum wage campaign.
Labour groups are holding rallies at the McDonald’s headquarters on Don Mills Road, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, and the Pearson International Airport. Demonstrations for pay of $15 an hour will also be held in Guelph, Ottawa and Hamilton and more than 200 cities across North America.
The rallies come just weeks after McDonald’s announced a pay increase at its U.S. stores and coincide with the company’s annual “National Hiring Day” blitz where the fast-food chain plans to hire 6,500 new employees in Canada.
The Fight for $15 campaign is an initiative led by the Service Employees International Union and began in late 2012 with fast-food workers.
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“We are out here today essentially supporting workers that in many cases are precarious type workers,” Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told Global News. “We are making this push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. We know it’s happened in Seattle, we know it can happen here.”
Seattle recently announced that effective April 1 a new Minimum Wage Ordinance would be implemented across the city.
Ontario’s minimum wage is $11 and the Liberal government recently announced a 25-cent increase starting Oct. 1.
But Ryan says although the labour movement has made some gains in Ontario, $11 an hour is still not a liveable wage.
“Fifteen dollars an hour is just marginally above the rate of poverty and that’s what we are saying we have to strive for in all of our workplaces,” said Ryan.
In statement McDonald’s said it remained focused on it’s National Hiring Day and reminded that interested applicants can walk into any restaurant locational across Canada to apply for a job.
“At McDonald’s Canada we respect everyone’s right to have their say. The topic of minimum wage in Canada goes well beyond McDonald’s,” the company said in a statement. “We look to individual provincial legislators to determine appropriate minimum wages across the country.”
Organizers say the North American demonstration will also join job actions being pledged in 100 cities from Sao Paolo to Tokyo.
Below are images and social media reaction to the Fight for 15 campaign