Home > Uncategorized > NYC fast food workers strike for higher pay

NYC fast food workers strike for higher pay

from Bill Holmes:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/mcjobs-should-pay-too-its-time-for-fast-food-workers-to-get-living-wages/265714/

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that seven out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade will be low-wage fields. And these jobs are not being done by teenagers. Across the country, the median age of fast-food workers is over 28, and women — who make up two-thirds of the industry — are over 32, according to the BLS.

“For a lot of people it’s a second chance or even a last chance,” Shaiken said.

Fast food weathered the recession, and the biggest names are seeing big profits. Yum! Brands, which runs Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, saw profits up 45 percent over the last four fiscal years, and McDonald’s saw them up 130 percent. (After Walmart, Yum! Brands and McDonald’s are the second and third-largest low-wage employers in the nation.) Yet those profits are not being passed on to workers like Harris and Jantuah, who remain stuck at or barely above a stagnant minimum wage.

“The question about fast food is the same question that workers have been raising about Walmart. Both of these campaigns are a window onto the larger debate on to whether America is going to have a living wage economy in the 21st century or not,” Bernhardt said.

  1. November 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Thanks Mitch for keeping labor issues front and center.

  2. SNaFU
    November 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

    R/x: If these “people” don’t like low paying jobs, stop whining & go elsewhere.

  3. November 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Very similar grass roots union organizing in Chicago last week.

    “Fight for 15” movement is growing. #FF15

    http://eurekafairwageact.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/chicago-workers-in-historic-fight-for-15-minimum-wage/

  4. November 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    OH snaFU I guess you missed this two days ago. Amazingly you can apply the same stupid simple minded “free market” analysis (actually this one is almost Calvinist) to business people that you harshly apply to working poor people oppressed by monopsony.

    I know you will enjoy it, here it is again.

    “When a restaurant/hospitality worker complains about not making a living, they are often told things like “no one is forcing you to work in a restaurant” or “it is your choice where you work” or “you just need to improve your working skills to make your work product more valuable and businesses will pay you more” or sometimes even “no one owes you a living.” You see and hear comments like that all the time.

    Why doesn’t that apply to business? Aren’t you choosing to run a restaurant? If the margins are so low in food, why don’t you open a bank or a gold mine? It’s your choice you know. Or maybe if you just brush up on your entrepreneurial skills you can think of a better business to invest your capital in. How about “no one owes you a restaurant?”

    I am not trying to be harsh, but I am applying the same logic and the same free market analysis to you as a business owner that is often applied to the working poor.”

  5. November 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    American Families Are Poorer Than They’ve Been In Four Decades

    Bruce Watson, DailyFinance|Nov. 29, 2012, 8:38 AM|1,522|10

    The idea that poor and middle-class Americans are suffering is nothing new: Anyone with access to the news (or, for that matter, to an ordinary suburban neighborhood) is likely to notice that it has gotten harder for average families to make ends meet.

    Beyond that, a veritable army of economists, politicians and pundits has spent the past few years pointing out the growing gap between the rich and everyone else.

    Now, a recent study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff has put the decline of the American middle class in a whole new perspective: According to Wolff’s calculations, the median net worth of American households has now reached a 43-year low of $57,000 (in 2010 dollars).

    According to Wolff, between 1983 and 2010, the percentage of households with less than $10,000 in assets rose from 29.7 percent to 37.1 percent. (And yes, that “less than $10,000” figure includes the many households with no assets at all, or “negative assets” — what we in the non-academic world just call debt.)

    Where did all the money go? Over the same period, the richest 1 percent of households increased their average wealth by 71 percent.

    Read more: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/11/28/median-family-wealth-is-at-a-43-year-low-study-finds/

  6. November 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Snafu, since when are poorly paid workers not “people”? I’m assuming this was a joke..

  7. Anonymous
    November 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Hi Bill,

    When is the deadline for turning in your signatures? Does it go to the city or county?
    Do the signers need to be registered voters?

    I am concerned about shenanigans from the powers that be. How many more signatures do you need and how can I help?

  8. November 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

    We have over 1,000 sigs. The deadline is Feb. 1. Signers have to be Eureka residents eligible to vote and registered. If you have not registered you we can register you before you sign. We have registered nearly 100 voters already during this campaign. We would like to gather another 1,000. We think we will make it onto the ballot but of course at this point it is no done deal.

    We can use help canvassing neighborhoods (we have just started doing this.) We could use help with static tabling at public venues like the COOP. We can use help from artists to design a new poster. We can use help from some musicians and poets and cooks for our Fair Wage Cafe coming up in a few weeks. We could use money. If you want to donate call 707-442-7465

    We could really use some support from some organized labor and faith groups.

    You can help with a lot of this even if you aren’t from Eureka, but to actually circulate a petition you do need to be a Eureka registered voter.

    Also we could use some volunteers who want to take some petitions and circulate them among friends and family. Volunteer to get 5 or 10 or 20 sigs of friends and family and we will get the petitions to you. call 707-442-7465 or email info@fairwages.org

    Or if you are just an individual that wants to sign, get ahold of us by phone or email.

    And THANK YOU!

  9. November 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Just think of how much the economy would have rebounded had the trillion dollars been given to the American people, instead of those criminals who took the money for themselves. The now loot the national treasury as a matter of course at least once a year.

  10. November 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

    “they” now loot…….yeah, yeah.

  11. Plain Jane
    November 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I don’t think it was a joke, Julie. Many right wingers don’t consider the poor to be fully human thanks to the propaganda demonizing them as the cause for all our ills. Scapegoating still works and it makes no difference if the targeted group is Jewish, darker than white or poor.

  12. Just Watchin
    November 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

    All this talk about evil corporations and the Wealthy, and yet I haven’t seen Rob Arkley bashed in quite some time. You people are losing your touch!

  13. MarkersMark(TM)
    November 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Arkley obviously supports raising wages or we would have heard from him by now.

  14. Dave Kirby
    November 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Recently watched a news story concerning the U.S. Postal Service. It showed a major sorting center where a sea of boxes were coming off a conveyor. I swear at least half the packages had the Amazon “smile” on them. They should put sharks teeth on their smile. While you folks vent your spleen at Wal Mart and fast food for low paying jobs you say nothing about the no pay jobs the internet hucksters provide here in Humboldt. But then you all buy local don’t you?

  15. jr
    November 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Dave brings up a good point. I for one never buy anything online because online merchants do not give anything back to the community. At least Wal-mart hires local people, albeit at minimum wage, and provides donations to area non-profit organizations.

  16. November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    NYC isn’t the only place fast food workers are in revolt. Today’s strike follows a founding convention held earlier this month by an linked organization, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago. WWOC claims 200-some members in fast food and retail. Its most dramatic actions took place on Black Friday, when workers leafleted and demonstrated at major companies and dropped a banner inside of Macy’s (they also joined pickets in support of local Wal-Mart workers). “We’re getting all the workers together and we’re standing up against CEOs,” said WOCC member Brittney Smith. “Because there’s more workers than there are CEOs.” Smith, a college student who recently quit her job at the retail chain Express and took a similar job at American Apparel, said she now makes $8.75 an hour. “Some of the time I luck out and I can eat two meals a day,” she said. “But most of the time, I’m eating one.”

    Like FFWC in New York, WOCC is a new independent union made up of workers tied together by a shared city and similarly low wages, not a single employer. Both FFWC and WOCC are backed by unions and labor community groups, and so far aren’t recognized by any employers. And they’re making the same demands: allow a fair process for unionization and start paying $15 an hour. Organizers say that could be achieved through union contracts with individual companies, or through joint bargaining with several employers at once. Either way, it’s a heavy lift.

    The New York and Chicago campaigns evoke two strategies that have been long debated but infrequently attempted in U.S. labor. First, “minority unionism”: mobilizing workers to take dramatic actions and make demands on management prior to showing support from the majority of employees. Second, “geographic organizing”: collaboration between multiple unions to organize workers at several employers and win public support for raising a region’s standards through unionization. This campaign is also the latest example in which community-based organizing groups, which unions have long leaned on to drum up support for workers, are playing a major role in directly organizing workers to win union recognition.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/11/29/in_rare_strike_nyc_fast_food_workers_walk_out/singleton/

  17. SNaFU
    November 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    eurekaworker :
    OH snaFU I guess you missed this two days ago. Amazingly you can apply the same stupid simple minded “free market” analysis (actually this one is almost Calvinist) to business people that you harshly apply to working poor people oppressed by monopsony.
    I know you will enjoy it, here it is again.
    “When a restaurant/hospitality worker complains about not making a living, they are often told things like “no one is forcing you to work in a restaurant” or “it is your choice where you work” or “you just need to improve your working skills to make your work product more valuable and businesses will pay you more” or sometimes even “no one owes you a living.” You see and hear comments like that all the time.
    Why doesn’t that apply to business? Aren’t you choosing to run a restaurant? If the margins are so low in food, why don’t you open a bank or a gold mine? It’s your choice you know. Or maybe if you just brush up on your entrepreneurial skills you can think of a better business to invest your capital in. How about “no one owes you a restaurant?”
    I am not trying to be harsh, but I am applying the same logic and the same free market analysis to you as a business owner that is often applied to the working poor.”

    May I suggest you tell these “workers” to apply for employment @ Renner’s, Ace hardware & Pierson’s, these are the places that have the highest priced products in the area. You keep voting Democrat & watch your paycheck dwindle at the grocery store unless you are already receiving some type of gov’t assistance.

  18. November 30, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Chicago

  19. November 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Democracy Now Reports on New York Fast Food Workers Struggle VIDEO

    Democracy Now! was there when workers at dozens of restaurants owned by McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell and others went on strike Thursday and rallied in a bid for fair pay and union recognition. Organizers with the Fast Food Forward campaign are seeking an increased pay rate of $15 an hour, about double what the minimum-wage workers are making. Workers and their allies demanded a wage that would let them support their families. Martyna Starosta filed this report.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/30/hundreds_of_fast_food_workers_strike

    Fast-food workers walked off the job in New York City Thursday to hold a series of rallies and picket lines in what has been called the largest series of worker actions ever to hit the country’s fast-food industry. Hundreds of workers at dozens of restaurants owned by McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and others went on strike and rallied in a bid for fair pay and union recognition. Organizers with the Fast Food Forward campaign are seeking an increased pay rate of $15 an hour, about double what the minimum-wage workers are making. Workers and their allies demanded a wage that would let them support their families. Democracy Now! co-host Juan González spoke to many of the striking workers for his latest New York Daily News column, “One-day strike by fast-food workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants is just the beginning.” [includes rush transcript]

    http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/11/30/video_on_strike_fast_food_workers_in_nyc_call_for_right_to_unionize

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