April 15, 2015
by Lisa Calcasola
By the time the Fight for 15 protests stopped in Times Square in Manhattan on , it was dark. People who had been preparing for the event weeks ahead of time dropped their signs on the side of the road to be recycled and went their separate ways.
Even with most of the protestors gone, the space still felt electric with its energy. I talked with Chantelle and Monica; Monica had a camera around her neck. I asked if she was interested in film, and she told me she was in film school now, studying to be a director. Film is one of the most accessible forms of media there is, and can reach a multifaceted audience, she said.
“I’m really interested in documentaries,” Monica said. “Film can shed light on lots of social issues and get the word out, teach people about what’s going on.”
When asked what she thought today’s biggest message was about, Chantelle feistily replied, “It’s all about not letting corporations steal from the people.”
“Corporations make billions of dollars and what’re they doing with it? They’re keeping it for themselves and stealing from the people. Today is all about making sure we don’t let them win. We won’t go down without a fight.” Continue reading
Interesting article in the New York Times today. Click here.
On Thursday, Dec. 4, the Fight for 15 campaign staged another wave of one-day strikes, this time in more than 150 cities, with home care aides and convenience store workers joining the protests in several of them. Terrance Wise was at the forefront in Kansas City, demonstrating outside McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants. Steve Greenhouse of the NY Times tells his story.
A new study looks at how fast-food workers in Denmark earn considerably more than in the United States and still earn a profit. A hamburger costs slightly more, but nowhere near as much as the wage difference. Click here for The New York Times story.
Fascinating and analytical article on the campaign for living wage, fast-food workers, SEIU’s involvement and people affected by all of it. Click here.
Slate Magazine argues that the fast food job actions have reinvigorated Organized Labor and have shifted public perceptions of the needs to protect low-wage workers. See the story here.
From The New York Daily News:
Fast food workers from across the boroughs skipped their shifts Wednesday and brought their beef to Sixth Ave. in Manhattan, promising another citywide walkout next week to highlight their growing frustration.
“The economy is so tough right now,” said Elizabeth Rene, a Kingsborough College student from Flatbush who has worked at multiple McDonald’s in the city since 2006, including the W. 28th St. store that served as the site for Wednesday’s rally.
“It’s really difficult,” she added. “I have experience. I’ve worked at other locations, and I’m still taking home $7.25 an hour after taxes.” Continue reading
There are disagreements about the answers, of course.
A study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center asked in 2005 by Amy Vassalotti about how will a proposed increase from $6.75 to $7.75 in the California minimum wage would impact the California economy?
This study assesses the potential economic implications for the private sector of an increase in the current California minimum wage. It finds that most establishments would face very modest cost increases, which entails only minor adjustments, if any, to the new minimum wage law. The study concludes that the cost increases to businesses are very modest, except in the accommodations and food services industry, which should be able to pass the cost increases on to consumers through price increases. Overall, the minimum wage increase should not affect the California economy negative ly, via loss of employment or business relocation out of the state.
In 2013, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-OK, argued publicly a far different outcome as reported in the Huffington Post on Aug. 12.
By David Winograd, Huffington Post
Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour could increase the price of a hamburger by about 438 percent, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) argued at a town hall meeting with constituents on Thursday, Think Progress reports.
“You guys wanna pay $20 for a hamburger at McDonald’s?” Mullin said. “If you wanna increase it, that’s great,” he added, “but what you’re gonna do is punish everybody along the way.”
These numbers are from Wikipedia
In the United States, consumers spent about US$110 billion on fast food in 2000 (which increased from US$6 billion in 1970).The National Restaurant Association forecasted that fast food restaurants in the U.S. would reach US$142 billion in sales in 2006, a 5% increase over 2005. In comparison, the full-service restaurant segment of the food industry is expected to generate $173 billion in sales. Fast food has been losing market share to fast casual dining restaurants, which offer more robust and expensive cuisines.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 4.1 million U.S. workers are employed in food preparation and serving (including fast food) as of 2010. The BLS’s projected job outlook expects average growth and excellent opportunity as a result of high turnover. However, in April 2011, McDonald’s hired approximately 62,000 new workers and received a million applications for those positions—an acceptance rate of 6.2%. The median age of workers in the industry in 2013 was 28.
News organizations took note when the Labor Center at UC Berkeley and economists at the Universtiy of Illinois released a new report showing that more than half of U.S. fast food workers are receiving some type of public assistance. Here is The Los Angeles Times story, followed by a link and excerpts to the report itself.
More than half of U.S. fast food workers on public aid, report says
By Alana Semuels
More than half of families of fast food workers receive some sort of public assistance, costing the nation $7 billion a year, according to a new report distributed by a group that has been pushing for union representation and higher wages for fast food workers.
Fast food workers earn an average of $8.69 an hour, and often work fewer than 40 hours a week, qualifying them for food stamps, Medicaid and tax credits, according to the report, written by economists at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.