In a stunning show of solidarity beginning last year, employees at fast-food establishments in cities across the nation took to the streets to demonstrate their unfair working conditions. Protests include demands to double their wages as well as be provided with benefits.
These demands are not unreasonable considering most fast-food employees exist at the poverty level and qualify for at least one program of federal assistance, including food stamps or Medicaid. The strikes reflect efforts that started last November amongst workers in almost sixty American cities. Protests have included supporters of fast-workers who sympathize with the harsh economic realities faced by employees who cannot afford to support themselves and frequently have to live with parents in order to survive.
Current minimum federal wage is $7.25 an hour for most striking workers employed by McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. In addition to seeking double what they are making now, the protesters are also seeking the right to unionize.
One employee from Detroit claimed he was unable to support himself and his five-year-old child. While acknowledging he and others are risking their jobs to go on strike, he stated that he just wanted to be treated fairly. Many fast-food establishments are multi-billion dollar industries, but there is too much of a disconnect between corporate wealth and the livelihood of its workers.
One economics professor claimed that the long-reaching effects of such a disparity in the system eventually affects the national tax structure since patrons of fast food are not getting much of a bargain when they consider the person serving them is contributing to raising food costs to consumers, who will also indirectly suffer consequences of job loss.
The expectation is that the efforts of the fast food workers will provide a source of hope for other exploited employees to find inspiration in dealing with troubling wage issues. If you feel your rights are not protected at your place of employment, it would be advisable to seek help from wage and hour professionals who can capably empower you to sustain your financial future and that of your family.
usatoday.com, “Fast-food workers strike for higher pay” Gary Strauss, Aug. 29, 2013