Fast Food Strikes Planned in 100 Cities Thursday

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An organized labor movement that began at a single New York McDonald’s about a year ago is planned to spread to around 100 cities this week. Fast-food workers nationwide are redoubling their efforts to earn higher wages with a more aggressive set of one-day strikes that organizers say will hit every region of the U.S.

Low-wage workers at restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast food chains are expected to walk off the job on Thursday. The workers are demanding an increase in pay to $15 per hour—what they call a living wage—and the right to unionize. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, and fast food workers earn an average hourly wage of about $9, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the course of the last year, the fast-food protests, which are being backed by union groups such as the Service Employees International Union, have expanded greatly in scope. Last November about 200 workers went on strike in New York, a number that was already the “biggest wave of job actions in the history of America’s fast-food industry,” according to the New York Times. By July thousands of workers in seven other cities had also engaged in strikes. A daylong strike at the end of August spread to more than 50 cities, including places in the union-averse Deep South. On Thursday, Charleston, South Carolina and Providence, Rhode Island and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be among the new locations where workers will strike, according to organizers.

(MORE: Fast Food Strikes Go Viral: Workers Expected to Strike in 35 Cities)

During previous protests, the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry’s lobbying arm, has pointed out that only 5 percent of fast food workers earn the federal minimum wage and most employees earning entry-level wages are under 25. At least one fast food executives has claimed that a $15 per hour wage would kill jobs. It’s hard to say just how much a doubling of wages would affect menu prices because most individual fast-food locations are franchised to independent owners, whose financial data is private.

But strike organizers say these fast food chains can afford to share some of their large profits with workers. An analysis by TIME earlier this year found that profit margins for privately held fast-food businesses are on the rise. McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, had a $1.52 billion quarterly profit last quarter, up from $1.46 billion a year earlier. But same-store sales are flat for the fast food giant, which could lead to Wall Street pressure to lower costs, not increase them.

So far the direct results of the walkouts have been far below organizers’ stated goals. Workers in some areas have seen wage increases in the range of 25 to 50 cents per hour, and some workers fired for walking out have had their jobs restored thanks to community pressure. The biggest result of the walkouts may be as political fodder to advocate for an increase to the federal minimum wage. President Obama advocated for a $9 minimum wage during his State of the Union speech, and he is now backing Democratic  legislation to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Either move would likely be viewed as a victory for fast food workers and labor organizers.

19 comments
Cwurley
Cwurley

“This might come off as a mean generalization, but for the most part, people who work these low-wage jobs don’t have padded savings accounts like their bosses do. Fast food employees are easily replaceable and today they’re all taking a huge risk.”

This is a good article as well on this whole debate...

http://www.penaltees.com/blog/fast-food-wage-wars/

Winchestermom
Winchestermom

1.5 billion quarterly profit.  Think about it. 

How much is too much?

RyansTimeDotCom
RyansTimeDotCom

Raising their salary from $9 to $15 would be job security suicide.

With the current minimum wage, fully automated systems to serve customers are too expensive to develop and implement.

But with a $15 minimum wage, all of a sudden implementing a fully automated system starts to look profitable. Companies looking at their bottom line and a 60% labor cost increase might be forced to look for alternatives (ie: Machines).

AlDente1
AlDente1

Don't give in to UNION GOONS

Mie
Mie

LOL, well I do have to say, if belzobama fixes the economy we'd have real jobs for adults

LouisPFreely
LouisPFreely

Shouldn't these people master the concept of "no onions" first before they demand more money? Fast food is a job for teenagers.

GeneNewell
GeneNewell

These people/employees are so disconnected by reality it is ridiculous, What the media is "NOT" mentioning is that every employer has to match every cent of the employees, LOCAL, STATE & FEDERAL taxes. These people need to feel fortunate to have the positions they have. In general for every $8.00 per hour an employee makes, The Employer has to pay $12.00 out of their pocket to "LEGALLY" maintain them on their books. So if these opportunists are thinking that they are going to get $15.00 per hour and an employer is going to have to pay basically $22.50 per hour for someone who decided "NOT' togo to College or have made some poor life choices.... GOOD LUCK ..LOL....  AMERICA has to go back to the roots of our success. Work hard and focus on Education to make yourselves worth that kind of money in a professional field. Statistics show that 49% of that work force is illiterate. As for the UNIONS trying to make you think they are on your side, they're just using the ignorant as pawns for their own financial gain...

jmanpc
jmanpc

I work a job that is very high stress and fast paced and I make a smidge more than the $15 fast food workers are demanding. If they got their way, I would switch to working at a fast food joint TOMORROW!

I've worked at a quick serve restaurant before and everyone thinks their job sucks. This is most likely because they've never had a job with actual responsibility. Flipping burgers, cleaning grease and taking orders is a cake walk in comparison.

barneydidit
barneydidit

I consider myself to be fairly Liberal, but I'm quite skeptical about the benefits of bumping the fast food worker's salary to $15.00 an hour. I know a number of workers, including Chefs in middle of the road restaurants that don't make $15 an hour, should their pay be raised accordingly? The median hourly wage for an elementary teacher in the U.S. is only $14.90 an hour, should someone flipping burgers be paid the same as someone teaching your 3rd grader?  Health support technicians? $14.78 an hour, and their tasked with assisting in our health care procedures. 

I'm all for the "living wage" idea, but I'd much rather see it implemented as part of longevity and professional advancement policies. Maybe a guarantee if you've been with the same fast food company for a year, your pay will be at least "X". Two years- 20% over "X", and so on. It would depend quite a bit upon where you live.

Rhomega
Rhomega

@LouisPFreely Unfortunately, many older people are winding up there because the jobs they went to college for are full or are requiring experience they can't get.

Mie
Mie

@GeneNewell Um not everyone has the opportunity to go to college. Even so, there are ways to get training and a better job WHEN the economy is good. belzobama is NOT trying to fix the economy, he wants to redistribute the wealth like any other "good" communist

tom.litton
tom.litton

I think the best solution would be to raise the min wage to 11-12 $ per hour AND expand the earned income tax credit (and pay for it by a combination of reducing subsidies to larger corporations and closing some out dated tax loop holes). 

Not that i've seen any studies that suggests this is the best approach, nor have I really thought through it too much.  But my feelings is that raising the min wage to where it needs to be to raise everyone out of poverty might be too much of a price shock.  Doing a combination of both will hopefully inject enough cash into the system that the companies can recoup most or all of their costs through increasing revenues.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@barneydidit 2 things:

First, i don't think it will work if you raise just the fast food industry wage.  It really has to be a min wage increase across the board, which will raise salaries close to that mark.  However, a lot of professional employees (ie teachers) also get benefits which account for a large part of their compensation.  While they will probably need to make a bit more (and they should get it) I think those jobs can still be competitive at relatively close to the min wage.  Plus we shouldn't be paying these people close to the poverty line anyways.  It leaves little incentive to go to these fields, unless you are really dedicated or you think you can't get a better career.

Secondly, having said all of that, $15 an hour might be a bit too much of a jump, but if your willing to settle for $12 an hour, then it would be stupid to put that down as your opening bid. 


mnpham99
mnpham99

@tom.litton Raising wages across the board will increase prices of goods across the board. Then we're back to square one.

mnpham99
mnpham99

@tom.litton @barneydidit What happens to all the people making $10, $12, or $15/hr? Will they go to $20 and $30/hr?How many employers can afford to give a 50% raise to all their employers and stay in business without laying off many of them?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@mnpham99 @tom.litton Yes and no.  If you look at the labor costs of these places, it doesn't account for a large percentage.  So even if they raise the prices to account for the entire cost of the raise, it's not that big of a jump, and only for companies that rely on large amount of cheap labor. 

Plus companies will certainly find other ways of compensating, including eating into their profits.  I've seen studies that say a big mac will be raised (and i might not be remembering this correctly) something like 30 cents, if they get the entire $15.

Secondly, these people tend to need a lot of help from welfare programs.  With a raise, they will need less help.  So some portion of the extra cost to consumers can be made up by lower taxes and/or better or more government services.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@mnpham99 @tom.litton @barneydiditJust read what i said:

However, a lot of professional employees (ie teachers) also get benefits which account for a large part of their compensation.  While they will probably need to make a bit more (and they should get it) I think those jobs can still be competitive at relatively close to the min wage.


Read more: Fast Food Strikes Planned in 100 Cities Thursday | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2013/12/02/fast-food-protests-planned-in-100-cities-thursday/#ixzz2mWCqbpHU