Local groups take part in wage increase activities - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Local groups take part in wage increase activities

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Mirroring similar rallies around the country, an event to support increased wages for fast food workers is set for La Crosse Thursday.

Local labor leaders, elected officials, and other community leaders have organized a rally in front of the Burger King restaurant in downtown La Crosse at noon.

Even though the press conference was in front of Burger King, there were no restaurant employees at the event.

The goal of the event is to speak out against low wages that typically are associated with fast food jobs.  Another goal is to generate public support for efforts by workers to get a $15 per hour wage, which translates to $31,200 per year.

The union said the average wage of a fast food worker is about $18,00 a year.

They said Wisconsin tax payers are spending $166 million per year on subsidies like food share and badger care for people working in retail and fast food industries.

"We have people who are working hard who are making lots of money for great corporations and yet they cannot support their own families. That is an inequality that needs to be addressed," Ellen Rasmussen said.

County Board Supervisor Karin Johnson said as a student, she's worked jobs that pay less than 15-dollars an hour.

"But the only reason that I will have the income potential of earning more than $15 an hour is because other people who have made a living wage had the money to support me," Johnson said.   "People who are perpetually making $7.50-$8.50 an hour don't have those opportunities and that's the issue. They don't have the higher income earning potential."

Protests are planned elsewhere in the state.  Rallies are planned in Stevens Point and Green Bay. 

Workers in Milwaukee, Madison, and Wausau are going out on strike.

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