— Citizen Action of NY (@citizenactionny) September 4, 2014
Today fast food workers are striking in hopes of pressuring their employers to pay $15 an hour and let them form unions. The movement for better wages often called “Fight For 15″ which is using the hashtag #StrikeFastFood is targeting 150 cities to strike in.
The strike is part of a two-year campaign that began in New York in 2012 and has spread throughout the country. The demonstrations have struck a chord among low income workers who have not benefited from the economic recovery from the Great Recession. A recovery that has seen gains mostly go to the wealthy via the financial markets while overall economic growth and middle and low incomes have stagnated.
The top-heavy so-called recovery has meant that most fast food workers are stuck in jobs that pay too low to support families and achieve any financial security. Once a job for teenagers and others not dependent on the wages to support themselves, the average fast food worker is now older with more than 42% of fast food workers over the age of 25 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fast food workers plan to walk off the job in an estimated 150 cities on Thursday, with employees in many locations planning nonviolent civil disobedience.Organizers say the strike—with potentially widespread arrests of workers—marks an intensification of a two-year campaign to raise hourly pay in the industry to $15 and to win workers’ right to form a union. On Thursday morning, organizers said dozens of workers had been arrested in Detroit and New York’s Times Square…
Most labor experts agree that the fast food worker walkouts are unlikely to yield raises or union rights in the immediate term. Yet the strikes, which began in 2012 in New York City and which reached Kansas City in July 2013, appear to have had some success in forcing lawmakers and the public to pay attention to the struggles of low wage workers.
The protests are helping to drive the national debate over wages even if their success is not instantaneous. Not that the workers have much to lose in any case as working for $7.50, often only part time, is sometimes only enough to income to disqualify people from public assistance.
Fast food work was built on the concept of disposable labor, but as the American economy has been bifurcated to the extreme by Neoliberalism and other forces the only jobs some people can get are in fast food. If the labor conditions and wages do to improve for workers they will be stuck in cycles of poverty and permanent precarity.
All the more reason to fight.