Just before the Labor Day weekend, fast food workers in the United States had their voice heard nationwide.
As we all know, Labor Day is a labor movement dedicated to the social growth and economic achievements of American workers. Each year, it is celebrated to give tribute to the workers’ valuable contributions to the strength, prosperity and well being of the country. Thus, workers of McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s Restaurants LLC, Burger King Worldwide Inc. and others took the upcoming Labor Day to voice out their concerns regarding their wages.
Workers from different parts of the country have recently staged a strike in line with a campaign that aims to raise wages in the service industry.
The strike that was said to be the largest strike of its kind in recent history follows a similar protest way back in November last year in New York, where approximately 200 workers walked off their jobs. Also, in Detroit, Chicago, Kansas and other cities followed their lead just last April and July.
Reports claimed that workers want to form unions and bargain higher wages with their employers without suffering retaliation form franchisees or their parent companies. Apparently, all private-sector fast food jobs are non-union and retaliation against workers who attempt to organize a union is common.
At present, the federal minimum wage for fast food workers is $8.94 per hour. Consequently, the workers are now demanding for $15 per hour.
However, the National Restaurant Association, a trade group for U.S. restaurants and fast food chains, contests that the restaurant industry provides 13 million jobs for Americans and that discussions about wages should be based on facts. The organization’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs, Scott Defife, further affirmed that “Only five percent of restaurant employees earn the minimum wage and those that do are predominantly working part-time and half are teenagers.”
In addition, fast food companies have shared the same logic by claiming that they have provided good jobs and significant opportunities for workers seeking to upgrade their ranks. So far, the fast food companies have not yet altered its wage policies following the recent strikes.
Meanwhile, in his own opinion, a Los Angeles labor lawyer thinks that the workers recent move is apparently in response with the federal government’s failure to raise the minimum wage in order to keep up with the inflation rate and cost of living. Also, he believes that although the said movement is still in its early stage, there is the possibility of it to become a huge deal soon.