It also noted that the protests didn’t give an accurate picture of what it means to work at McDonald's. The company said it provides professional development for interested employees.
Wendy’s said in statement that it was ‘‘proud to provide a place where thousands of people, who come to us asking for a job, can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain skills and advance with us or move on to something else.’’
Starbucks spokesman Zack Huston said the strikes have not affected the company’s stores. He noted that Starbucks employees earn ‘‘competitive wages’’ and affordable health care that other retailers do not provide for part-time workers.
Subway and Yum Brands Inc., which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, did not respond to a request for comment.
Even though they’re not part of unions, fast-food workers who take part in strikes are generally protected from being fired or having employers retaliate against them. Federal labor law gives all workers the right to engage in ‘‘protected concerted activities’’ to complain about wages, working conditions or other terms of employment.
‘‘It’s always been understood that people who fall under this concerted activity umbrella are protected as long as they are protesting not only on their own behalf but on behalf of others as well,’’ said Robert Kaiser, a St. Louis labor law attorney.
Associated Press writers Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas, Rodrique Ngowi in Boston and Michael Biesecker in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.