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Aug 29, 2013 12:39 PM

Fast Food Workers Strike Demanding $15. per hour wages


Here is an article regarding hundreds of fast food employees who are demanding wage increases from around $ 7.40 an hour to $ 15. per hour. Your thoughts.........

(Fox news article was the first to come up on a google search)

CNBC is doing a segment on it now.

    1. re: linguafood

      Good for them indeed. Minimum wage should be a living wage.

      It is an issue here in the UK as well. Shameful wherever.

      1. re: Harters

        "Living wage".. that seems to be a newish term. I don't remember hearing it growing up.or until the last year or so.

        1. re: rochfood

          "Living wage" is certainly a newish term in the UK. We've only had a legal minimum wage since 1999. It has never been adequate and many of us would take the view that it was at such a low level to appease business owners. The fact that it benefitted so many workers when it was introduced was a shameful reflection of employment practices in this country. Employment practices in this country continue to be shameful and the Living Wage campaign works to overturn just one of these poor practices.

          1. re: rochfood

            There was a living wage campaign in Santa Monica in the early 90s.

          2. re: Harters

            The strikers are not seeking to raise the minimum wage. They want to be paid substantially more than the minimum wage.

          3. re: linguafood

            Calling voluntary work in US restaurants "slave labor" is an absolute insult to people in other countries who are actually subjected to real slave labor. Just for example, 6 year old children being forced to work in sweat shops in Bangladesh, children being forced to work in African diamond mines, etc.

            No one is forcing people to work in US restaurants.

            1. re: Fowler

              Their situation is "forcing" them to. The minimum wage is an insult to human dignity.

              1. re: Fowler

                Children are "forced" to work by their family's poverty, not by external matters.

                1. re: Harters

                  Harters, if you are so outraged by the compensation provided for servers here in the US, I hope you will make an exclusion to your European ways of not tipping servers and please tip our servers well during your visit to make up for the terrible economic situation we have forced them into.

            2. Having been a member of 2 unions, they can dream. Plenty of folk will take their jobs while they walk the line.

              My living wage would include a weekly paid reservation at Per Se. A car never more than 3 years old with unlimited gas. And a 34 ft Sabre Mark II with retractable keel for living space.

              1 Reply
              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. If fast food outlets paid twice minimum wage for entry-level workers, where would high school students get after-school and summer jobs?

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    Exactly right. These are meant to be entry-level jobs. High school kids would be out of luck. And a cheeseburger from Mickey D's would no longer be affordable.

                    1. re: justalex

                      "Meant" by whom? It's not like McD's won't hire anyone willing to work for pauper's wages, and it's not like people desperate for a job won't take it. That doesn't mean they can live on it.

                      When I was getting out of school in the early 80s, rent was figured to be 1/4 of a person's income, and even at minimum wage a person could find some way to get by. But wages have been kept down ever since, even as costs have gone up, until now rent can take up an entire paycheck.

                      $7.25 x 40 = $290/week, or $1160/month. In Missouri, takehome is roughly 60% of gross, so about $700/month takehome working 40 hr/week at minimum wage if I remember how to do math.

                      This is where 1/5 of American workers are right now. Not just fast food of course but other retail.

                      And of course a burger would be affordable, easily. Labor is much less of the price of a burger than materials. In the late 70s much more of the economy came back to the workers, even at much lower volume of sales. Now we have record setting sales with the workers getting very little of that. With more money coming to the workers again the stronger the economy will be.

                      The only thing holding us back is that so much of our money supply has been sucked up into the stratosphere that there's much less circulating down here with the rest of us. Whether it's higher taxes or gold-plated McNuggets, something's going to have to pry that hoarded money away if we are going to have money to pay our bills. Because the cheapest burger won't sell if I'm not making enough money to buy it.

                      Edit: accidentally a word

                      1. re: justalex

                        McDonalds can't discriminate based on age even if they were so inclined. I think it's a problem where you have people in the entry-level, unskilled job market at a life stage where they need a skilled job. That isn't McDonalds' fault.

                        I don't think there is less money circulating for the rest of us. Median income is the same as it was 40 years ago, and fast food employees certainly didn't make the equivalent of $15 an hour then.

                        If fast food companies are required to pay $15 an hour, they are going to get better employees, and the strikers will be out of a job.

                        1. re: kevin47

                          Maybe fast food employees didn't make the equivalent of $15 an hour but living expenses were more in line with lower wages. Gas wasn't 4+ a gallon. Minimum wage hasn't kept up, by any means.

                          And just because other professions are lower paid does it mean that there need to be jobs that pay essentially slave wages?

                          If we are the greatest country, we should be proud to provide well for our citizens. And anyone working 40 hours a week, even at an "unskilled" job should be able to live with a modicum of dignity and not have to choose between a bottle of aspirin and a pack of TP at the dollar store.

                          Work harder, get more education, etc., etc. (if you have the opportunity and means) and of course then you move up to a better apartment, then a house, then a used car (from a bus pass) then a new car...

                          But should the lowest level really not even be able to afford to eat?

                          People aren't demanding Neiman Marcus for all, but the dollar store shouldn't be out of reach if you work full time.

                          1. re: Violatp

                            the sad fact is that these jobs, and other lower-rung service industry jobs, have replaced manufacturing and labour jobs in the United States, and therefore should no longer be viewed as entry-level positions for teenagers. Just as the likes of McDonalds were slow to realize that their client-base demanded healthier options, they will eventually have to realize that their labour force requires livable wages.

                            it's sad when regular people turn their backs on their compatriots to defend billionaires.

                            1. re: catroast

                              I had to laugh a couple of years back when, after his company had spent decades depressing wages and forcing manufacturing jobs overseas, one Walmart exec just could not understand why so many customers had no money to spend.

                              1. re: catroast

                                “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” -- John Steinbeck

                                  1. re: catroast

                                    If you want to talk about how small decisions can change the course of history, imagine if Ronald Reagan had been chosen to play Tom Joad instead of Henry Fonda.

                                    1. re: JonParker

                                      It would have ended up being the same, since Ronald Reagan played plenty of hard-up blue collar types, being a Warner Bros. contract player and all. Also while we're talking about it, he was NOT a B-actor or a bad actor - he was largely a supporting player in A movies. In no way was he some kind of cheeseball faker. He was an outstanding actor, in fact, always convincing - exactly why he was so convincing when he was pretending to be a governor and then a president.

                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                        I was being somewhat facetious, and pretty much agree with you given that the left leaning John Ford managed to make John Wayne one of the biggest stars ever. But still, Grapes of Wrath was one of the most powerful socialist stories ever -- it would have been great campaign fodder material.

                            2. re: kevin47

                              "McDonalds can't discriminate based on age even if they were so inclined"

                              ADEA protects only those between ages 40-70.

                              But hawkeye should weigh in here, since that's his thing

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            I would definitely pay more. Most fast food workers are not teenagers. McDonald's has a section on managing a second job as part of their new employee orientation. As the economy has changed, many of those recovery jobs are in retail, fast food & other components of the service industry.

                            1. re: Kalivs

                              Elsewhere people seem to miss this very exact point. I read somewhere that fast-food/retail jobs are only held by 15 or 16% of the adolescent/young adult population. MOST of the jobs nowadays are held by: 1) people in their 30s on up who lost their FT jobs and haven/t been able to reenter the job market for whatever reason (I have a few family members falling under this -- one works FT at a pizza place); 2) those in their 50s who were laid off, are too young to retire, and considered "too old" for most employers out there; and 3) seniors who work PT either or economic reasons or just wanting to get out of the house (we've got many of them around my way).

                              Sure, some of these people have no more than a high school education. Many of them are/were SAHM's who haven't worked outside the home since before having kids. Many of them are divorced and/or single. But there's a bigger portion who are college-educated and are trying to provide for their families on the pittance these places offer. When you're desperate, that's what you do. And given the state of the economy, it's better to stay where you are than burn bridges trying to get something more in line with your education or whatever.

                              1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying, however with regard to this comment;

                                "But there's a bigger portion who are college-educated and are trying to provide for their families on the pittance these places offer."

                                Would you agree that this segment is fueled by the "great recession" and the ongoing slow/poor economic and job growth we are experiencing? I don't think this is considered the norm, nor what has been the case until the most recent downturn of the economy.

                                Would you agree with that?

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  I would agree with that, but I'd also say that it's irrelevant. As we've seen lately, the electric company and the bank holding your mortgage won't take "it's a poor economy" as payment.

                                  The thing that everyone in politics knows but refuses to acknowledge is that a rising tide lifts all boats. Higher wages leads to more spending, spending translates to more economic activity, and that translates into a strong economy. People act like another nickel on a Big Mac (if that) is going to lead McDonalds to start laying off workers. It won't, because wages will also increase for all workers, leading McDonalds to sell more Big Macs, leading to the need for more workers at the higher wage.

                                  It drives me crazy when people treat the economy as a zero sum game. It's just not. Higher wages will benefit *everyone*, not just the workers that are earning more.

                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    "The thing that everyone in politics knows but refuses to acknowledge is that a rising tide lifts all boats. "

                                    But there is fervent disagreement as to what policies will rise the tide. I don't think the evidence supports the notion that artificially raising wages translates into more economic activity. The reason for this is that when labor costs more, things cost more. This has an impact on both demand for things and the ability of companies to supply the things.

                                    The economy is not a zero sum game, but economic redistribution is, by definition. Whether that makes it sound policy or not is another question.

                                2. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                  My newspaper, in the UK, reports on the strike this morning. The article is written in a generally sympathetic way towards the strikers - wouldnt expect different from its usually left of centre attitude (it's why I buy it).

                                  It notes information from the Bureau of Labour Statistics as saying that women make up two thirds of workers in the fast food industry. And, from the Center for Economic & Policy Research that a quarter of fast food workers are raising children.

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    I would enjoy reading that article. I often watch BBC news as I like see how the US is viewed and how world news is reported outside of our news sources. It's so sad to say I do not trust our news sources for truthful reporting. It seems every US news organization has it's own agenda and the news they report is skewed towards whatever alliances the networks has.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      The online article has been edited down and does not have the quotes I mentioned but here it is:


                                      The paper has covered the issue on several occasions. A search of their site for "fast food workers" should find you more commentary.

                                      In the UK, television news (not just the state owned TV, the BBC, but also privately owned channels) is required to be politically neutral whilst print media can (and generally does) adopt broad political stances. Perhaps it goes without saying that most newspapers take a generally right of centre position.

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          The BBC is not without its own allegations of bias, especially centre-left liberal bias and even internal investigations has supported the allegations.

                                          Hardly any news source is without its own agenda, just as the Guardian is a left-centre paper with a liberal/progressive bias, the Daily Telegraph of the UK is the centre-right paper with its own conservative bias.

                                          While I do agree it's useful to read overseas media to get a sense of what the attitudes are outside the US, but as with all media sources, it's best to read through the lines and form your own judgments.

                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                            Never a surprise when the right wing accuses the BBC of political bias. It's also never a surprise when they are accused of bias towards the Palestinian case and against the stance of the state of Israel. And, it's never a surprise when the Corporation is accused of an anti-American bias. Nor is it a surprise when it is accused of anti-Muslim bias and pro-Muslim bias

                                            These things are never a surprise because the Beeb is such an easy target for propagandists. Of course, the Corporation doesnt help itself - the recent Savile and payoffs scandals refer.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              The Beeb is no doubt an easy target because as a taxpayer funded institution if the views seemingly espoused by the broadcasters or journalists are contrary to yours, you get upset at the use of your tax dollars. Given that I don't believe in any such thing as the existence of true impartiality in all media forms, it's probably the biggest argument in favour of abolishing or privatising the Beeb.

                              2. re: sueatmo

                                you already pay more for a burger - only the employees have gotten a lesser share of the pot.