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Phoenix McDonald’s workers protest for better pay

PHOENIX — Dozens of McDonald’s employees gathered outside of a Phoenix location on Thursday to demand better pay.

The company announced Wednesday it would raise wages, but that only applies to corporate-owned restaurants. About 90 percent of McDonald’s are owned by franchisees, who control their own pay scales.

“We franchise workers do the same work that they do, and it’s unfair for them to get paid more than I because I do the same work,” Oscar Gomez said.

Gomez has worked at McDonald’s for three years and earns $8.80 per hour compared to the $9.05 hourly rate that will be paid to corporate employees.

“They take orders,” he said. “I take orders. I take the orders in the driveway, and they take the orders. What’s the difference between me and that person in the corporate (restaurant)?”

Gomez said he needs more money because he needs to replace his broken phone and to support his mother. He said he is too busy to earn a diploma that might be required to get a different job.

The franchisee who owns the protest site said hourly wages vary between $9-$11.

Corporate employees were also protesting despite their raise not yet taking effect. Corporate employees who will soon earn $9.05 are demanding a raise to $15 per hour and the right to unionize.

A national protest has been set for April 15. Valley organizers said a rally is planned at Arizona State University in Tempe.