Aug 08 2013

Do you want Fries with that (revised and extended)?

Fast-Food Fight


Published: August 7, 2013

As measured by the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, low-paid work in America is lower paid today than at any time in modern memory. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation or average wages over the past nearly 50 years, it would be about $10 an hour; if it had kept pace with the growth in average labor productivity, it would be about $17 an hour.

In contrast, the median hourly pay of fast-food workers – most of whom are in their 20s or older and many of whom are parents – is less than $9 for front-line workers and just above $9 when shift supervisors are included. Not surprising, the strikers demanded better pay – $15 an hour – and the right to organize without retaliation.

Also not surprising, they have been motivated to act by the inaction of the nation’s leaders. Republicans are against a higher minimum wage, and Democrats are too timid. Legislation proposed by Congressional Democrats would raise the hourly minimum to $10.10 over nearly two-and-a-half years from the date of enactment. President Obama has proposed a similarly gradual increase to $9 an hour. Congress and the White House also squandered a chance to try to improve workers’ earnings prospects when they let right-to-organize legislation die years ago.

Stephen Colbert and Mary Kay Henry (SEUI) below (autoplay).

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