US fast-food workers want $15 (480 baht) – per hour | Bangkok Post: learning

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US fast-food workers want $15 (480 baht) – per hour

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Thousands of workers at McDonald's and other fast food outlets across the United States went on strike Thursday, demanding $15 an hour, almost double what many of them earn today. AFP photo 

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Fast food workers and supporters for higher wages protest in New York last April. AFP

US fast-food workers want $15 (480 baht) – per hour

How much money does it take to live in the United States? Apparently, quite a lot.

The official minimum wage is $7.25 (233 baht) an hour, but that is clearly not enough for most people, well below the US government's poverty line (the level at which a person is considered to be poor).

Most fast-food workers earn slightly more, but they too are struggling. On Thursday, thousands of workers at McDonald's and other fast food outlets across the United States halted work in what organisers called the "largest-ever strike" to hit the $200 billion industry.

They are demanding $15 an hour, almost double what many of them earn today.

The protest movement first began in New York last November with a strike by 200 workers but quickly spread across the country with strikes in July taking place in Chicago, Detroit, Flint, Kansas City, Milwaukee and St Louis.

Whole Foods Market employees and union activists protest outside a Whole Foods Market store on July 31, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP

On Thursday organisers said the strike hit some 1,000 major fast-food restaurants, including Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

"Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make worker wages supersize!" read a tweet from Fight for 15, a workers organising committee.

Winning a "supersize" wage hike will not be easy, however. Many restaurant workers are reluctant to join a strike for fear of losing their jobs. The unemployment level in the United States is still high and it is not easy to find another job.

Still, you can be sure that many fast-food workers here in Thailand will be watching closely what happens.

Story contains information from AFP.

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Vocabulary:

activist: someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม

apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา

consider: to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า

demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ

double: twice as big, twice as much or twice as many - สองเท่า

employee: someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง

halt: to stop - หยุด

hike: an increase - การเพิ่มสูงขึ้น

industry: the people and activities involved in producing a particular thing, or in providing a particular service; the production of goods from raw materials, especially in factories - อุตสาหกรรม

level: a position or rank in a scale of size or importance - ระดับ

minimum: the lowest possible; the lowest allowed - ต่ำที่สุด, น้อยที่สุด

movement: a group of people who share the same aim and work together to achieve it - การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง

outlet: a shop or place where a particular product is sold - ร้านขายสินค้าจากโรงงาน

poverty: the condition of being extremely poor - ความจน

protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง

reluctant: not very willing to do something and therefore slow to do it - ไม่เต็มใจ

slightly: small in size or amount - เล็กน้อย

spread: to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people - แพร่กระจาย, แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว

strike: a period of time when an organized group of employees of a company stops working because of a disagreement over pay or conditions - การหยุดงานประท้วง

struggling: having serious difficulties - มีความยุ่งยาก

unemployment rate: the percentage of workers in an economy who do not have a job - อัตราการว่างงาน

union: an organisation of workers, usually in a particular industry, that exists to protect their interests, improve conditions of work, etc - สหภาพแรงงาน

wage: an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month - ค่าจ้าง

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