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Dec 02 2012

What We Now Know

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

To discuss what they know since the week began, Up with Cris Hayes host Chris Hayes is joined by his guests Danielle Brian (@daniellebrian), executive director for the Project On Government Oversight; Eyal Press (@EyalPress), author of “Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times;” Ed Pilkington, chief reporter for guardiannews.com, former national and foreign editor of the paper and author of “Beyond the Mother Country;” and former Marine Zachary Iscol.

Fast Food Workers Walk Off The Job: “We Can’t Survive On $7.25!”

from Gothamist

Low-income workers at giant chains fighting are back for better wages. Last week Wal-Mart workers across the country walked off the job in protest, and yesterday fast food workers here in New York took to the streets to demand for more money-and a union. Specifically, those marching to bring Fast Food Forward are organizing for a living wage-like, say, making $15 an hour. Because the average fast food worker in New York City makes just $11,000 a year.

Plenty of local politicians are supporting the workers. “This is the moment for New York City to turn the corner after a decade of rising income inequality,” mayoral hopeful Bill De Blasio said in a statement on yesterday’s actions, which took place all over the city. “We need to stand united as a city in support of fast food workers so they can win the fair pay and economic security every New Yorker deserves.”

And City Council member Jumaane Williams went even further at an afternoon rally in Times Square. “You deserve an honest days pay for an honest days work,” he told the crowd. “McDonald’s says billions and billions served and they aren’t even offering sick days or able to pay you for an honest days work? That’s some bull… ish!

Why It’s Time To Raise The Wage Floor On Fast Food ‘McJobs’

by Sarah Jaffe, The Atlantic

The median hourly wage for food service and prep workers is a mere $8.90 an hour in New York City, according to the New York Department of Labor. But Jasska Harris still makes the federal minimum wage — $7.25 — after five months on the job, and struggles to get even 35 hours a week. And that minimum wage buys less than it used to. A recent study from the National Employment Law Project pointed out that the value of the minimum wage is 30 percent lower than it was in 1968. [..]

Wages in the fast-food industry have stayed low for two basic reasons. First, many are low-skill service jobs in an efficient assembly where workers are easily replaced and don’t require much education. Second, there is a large supply of people who are willing to make cheap burgers at a low wage. It is easy to look at this scenario and conclude, “well, economics determines prices and wages, and that’s that.” But the full story is more complicated. Cheap fast food and their cheap workers impose a cost on the country in the form of food stamps, welfare through the tax code, and social safety net programs. This is a place for government to intervene — and for corporations to sacrifice some of their profits — by raising wages to a livable level. [..]

What we’ve seen with Walmart and now with the fast food workers is an independent organization, supported by traditional labor unions (in this case, the Service Employees International Union along with New York Communities for Change, United NY, and the Black Institute), can be more creative in its organizing tactics. Lerner is particularly inspired by the one-day strike that the workers are undertaking today. “The old strike, you used to go out and stay out until you win. But the workers now are so angry and mistreated an the way you express that is short-term walkouts.”

1 comment

  1. TMC

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