Fast food had protesters across the United States against it. They were in cities such as New York, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. Hundreds and hundreds of people were protesting and marching against numerous McDonald’s’ and other fast food restaurants, chanting various rhymes about how they could not continue living on the low wage they were earning from their respective employment.
The one-day labor walkouts were scheduled at numerous restaurants in more than 100 cities on Thursday. There were scores of protests in towns and cities all over America. Organizers, which were a group of labor activists led mostly by the Service Employees Union, were working to get a raise in the increase in the federal minimum wage and a higher wage within the industry. They also want the right to be able to have unions without fear of any management retaliations.
The activism groups hope to create public support for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 up to $15 per hour.
One promoter, who is working for income fairness and is one of the founding editors of the Occupy Wall Street Journal, stated he was extremely encouraged by the countrywide effort but stated he does not expect any big changes to happen.
This is more of a show for the media than something that will strike against the bottom line of these employers, he explained.
The timing has ended up being very good. In the past few days, both President Obama and Pope Francis have spoken out against rising income discrimination.
President Obama had expressed backing for a Democratic suggestion that was in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. He stated in a speech Wednesday that the American economy had doubled in size since the late 1970’s but the majority of its growth has been limited to a “fortunate few”.
Regardless of the growing apprehension around economic inequalities, the pushback is sturdy. Fast food is a sensitive industry when it comes to price and the business states that it would have a hard time in considerably raising employees’ salaries.
$15 dollars an hour is not something that is even reasonable, stated Justin Winslow, who is the vice president of the Michigan Restaurant Association’s government affairs.
This association released a statement which read that the majority of the protesters that were out on Thursday were union members and that out of the rest; relatively few of them were employees who had participated in any other striking actions. It also claimed that said the so-called demonstrations were just engineered by national labor groups. In the past, it has been extremely difficult for fast-food workers to unionize, because of the industry’s huge turnover rate.
The supporters of the wage hike have been much more effective working at the state and local levels. In November, the state of NJ agreed to a raise in the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. Meanwhile, the city of SeaTac, WA said yes to a minimum wage of $15 per hour for their citizens.
The United States Labor Secretary is in agreement with all the protesters. He even wrote about it in his blog this week. He penned that in order to grow the middle class and end up strengthening the economy, it is time to give millions of Americans the respect they deserve. This means it is time to raise the minimum wage, so the protesters will stop protesting against fast food employers.
By Kimberly Ruble