by: David Harris-Gershon on July 29th, 2013 | Comments Off
The largest mobilization of fast food workers in U.S. history, organized by Fast Food Forward, begins today in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City and Flint, Michigan.
Workers from a number of popular chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Wendy’s, are walking out to protest unsustainable wages under the slogan, “We can’t survive on $7.25!”
As reported by Allison Kilkenny in The Nation, the strike is being backed by a number of religious groups, community organizations and unions, including Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Today’s mobilization comes under the backdrop of an infuriating budget ‘calculator’ published by McDonald’s, ostensibly meant to help employees budget wisely. What it does, in truth, is establish how it is virtually impossible to survive on a minimum wage salary provided the fast food chain. Unless, that is, one forgoes buying food or paying rent.
Today’s striking workers will be demanding that fast food companies raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, enabling hard-working employees to actually afford being able to feed their families and provide their children with health care:
Per a statement from Fast Food Forward:
In America, people who work hard should be able to afford basic necessities like groceries, rent, childcare and transportation. While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by – many are forced to be on public assistance despite having a job. Raising pay for fast food workers will benefit workers and strengthen the overall economy.
Jonathan Westin, New York’s director for Fast Food Forward, credits the strikes for making the issue of minimum wage one that has become more prominent in public discourse:
“The more and more workers continue to take action and continue to publicize their fight, the more and more it starts to get at the fast food industry’s biggest asset, which is their name brand. And I think that’s what we’re beginning to see in a very real way.”
The strikes, which have kept the issue of minimum wage in the public’s eye and on the media’s radar for months, plan to continue after today’s action.
The ultimate goal: economic justice for a working class that, for too long, has been not just taken for granted, but taken advantage of as well.
Follow David Harris-Gershon on Twitter @David_EHG