Fast food workers across the US are striking and holding rallies today to call for higher wages.
This will be the largest action yet in the recent history of the fast food labor movement, with actions in 200 cities. Protesters are calling for $15 an hour wages, almost double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Raising wages for fast food workers is particularly important for women. Seventy-three percent of all front-line workers are women, and 43 percent are black or Latino. Fifty-two percent of fast food workers rely on public assistance because their wages are too low to survive on. But as Michelle Chen reports in the Fall 2013 issue of Ms., the National Restaurant Association has opposed increases in wages, and the industry “lobbies fiercely against local, state and national minimum-wage legislation, claiming the pay boost would cause job losses and hurt businesses. Meanwhile, the CEO of McDonald’s raked in about $13.8 million in fiscal 2012, an estimated 737 times what the average fast-food worker earned.”
“There’s a lot of McDonald’s workers with different issues, but in the end it’s the same story: We’re not getting paid enough,” McDonald’s worker and striker Nancy Salgado told Chen. “We’re worried about how are we gonna feed our kids tomorrow, how are we gonna pay the rent.”
While President Barack Obama has said he supports raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, legislation is unlikely to pass the House. Several states and counties have had more success raising their local minimum wages, including California and Connecticut.
GET INVOLVED: The Ms. Blog invites you to be a citizen journalist! Tweet your pictures and first-hand reports from today’s protests with @msmagazine, using the hashtag #StandWithRosie.
Media Resources: Associated Press 12/5/13; Feminist Newswire 8/27/13, 10/17/13; Ms. magazine blog 12/4/13; BBC 12/5/13