If that sounds dramatic, it should. Roffle is one of hundreds of fast food workers in six U.S. cities who in recent months have gone on strike to demand higher wages—$15 an hour, more than twice what she makes now— and the right to unionize. But as much as she and other workers want a living wage, they also want to get paid a legal wage.
“Its kind of like understood, it’s a thing there, it’s an unspoken thing,” Roffle told me about illegal employment practices that shirk workers of wages to which they’re legally and contractually entitled. Roffle is among those now trying to organizer fast food workers in Missouri. “There would be a ton of people making overtime if we got paid for all the hours we work, but we don’t.”