Champaign Activists Rally For Increased Minimum Wage

April 15, 2015
Activists rally for a $15 minimum wage outside of the McDonald's on Neil Street and Kirby Avenue in Champaign Wednesday.

Activists rally for a $15 minimum wage outside of the McDonald's on Neil Street and Kirby Avenue in Champaign Wednesday.

Hannah Meisel/WILL

Activists in Champaign Wednesday took part in the nationwide 200-city protest for higher wages for McDonald’s workers.

While the rally took place on the street corner outside the McDonald’s on Neil and Kirby in Champaign, no McDonald’s workers from that store, or any others, were there.

The 30 or so ralliers said they sympathetic to the majority of McDonald’s employees left out of a recent pay raise for employees corporate-owned stores. Only 11 percent of McDonald’s locations are corporately owned; the rest are owned by franchisees who decide their employees’ pay independently.

Urbana resident Debra Schrishuhn says she hasn’t been in a minimum wage job for nearly 40 years, but her freelance political work leaves her with a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

"Sometimes it's scary," Schrishuhn said. "You go to the discount grocery store and you buy what's on sale...you don't drive unless you have to and you cut every corner you can."

Wednesday’s rally urged McDonald’s to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Illinois’ minimum wage is currently $8.25—a dollar higher than the national rate. A few efforts have gained traction to raise the state’s wage, but none have been approved yet.

Story source: WILL