Saturday, September 06, 2014

173.1 - Good News: fast-food workers campaign

Good News: fast-food workers campaign

We start today, as I try to do whenever I can, with some Good News.

This is kind of interesting Good News, because it hasn't happened yet at the time I do this but will be over by the time you see this.

On Thursday, September 4, workers at places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC staged a protest walk-out, a one-day strike, in their on-going campaign to secure a living wage for workers in the fast-food industry.

According to Fight For 15, the group organizing the campaign, strikes were to take place in more than 100 cities and some of those actions are to include nonviolent civil disobedience such as sit-ins to dramatize the importance of the issue. What's more, thousands of home care workers are expected to join in solidarity.

The "15" in Fight for 15 comes from the call for a $15 an hour wage. The other major demand is the right to unionize without retaliation for trying to do so.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for restaurant workers in May 2013 was just $8.74 - which is not a living wage.

The strikes began with just 200 workers in New York City in November 2012 but in the two years since have occurred every few months, including the one pictured, which took place at Union Station in Washington, DC. While the gains for those in the industry have been modest so far, the campaign has made a notable impact in making the issue of the minimum wage one that can't be ignored.

For one example, thirteen states increased their minimum wages by an average of 28¢ an hour at the start of the year and other increases in other states are already scheduled to come into effect.

More recently and perhaps more significantly, in July the National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald’s and its franchisees are jointly responsible for violations of wage and labor standards committed by those franchisees. The corporations have always insisted that they bear no responsibility for those violations. Now they can't.

The strikers in Thursday's actions are being supported by the Service Employees International Union.

So it's fed-up workers demanding justice and taking it to the streets to that end: Now, that is good news.

Sources cited in links:

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