19 September 2014 – US fast food workers and labour activism

There is an article in this week’s New Yorker (15 Sept) written by William Finnegan about how US fast food workers are becoming active about low pay. Despite messages to the contrary from their employers, many of these workers are (very) long-term employees and still making the minimum wage (around $8 an hour in NYC). 70%of fast-food workers also work part-time (less than 40 hours a week) and a recent study found that 52% of workers are on some kind of public assistance.

The article examines a growing campaign to unionize fast-food workers; actions include one-day wildcat strikes and mid-town protests on the street as a growing number call for pay-rates to be increased to $15 an hour. Protests have now spread to more than 150 cities and, despite the fact that Congress is unlikely to pass an increase, there appears to be both high level political and public support for an increase to the minimum wage rate. You can read more here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/15/dignity-4

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