Tens of thousands of low-wage workers flood the streets demanding higher pay – Bryce Covert November 29, 2016

Fast food workers, Uber drivers, childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, and adjunct protested on Tuesday.`

The movement, which now calls itself the Fight for 15, is demanding a minimum wage of at least $15 as well as the right to unionize. And Tuesday’s day of action proved just how massive it has now become. Strikes and protests weren’t limited to New York City — they reached 340 cities. Fast food workers were joined by a variety of low-paid people, including childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, adjunct professors, and, for the first time, Uber drivers.

Uber drivers went on strike in more than two dozen cities. They were joined by striking hospital workers in Pittsburgh as well as a number of fast food employees across the country.

Many airport workers, including baggage handlers and cabin cleaners, also went on strike for the first time. A group walked off the job at Boston’s Logan International Airport, while more than 500 went on strike at Chicago O’Hare. They were backed up by protests at nearly 20 other major airports.

A number of other workers and supporters were arrested for acts of civil disobedience. In Detroit, Michigan, home care worker Renita Wilson was arrested at 5 a.m. while demanding she be paid $15 an hour, be allowed to join a union, and have access to affordable health insurance with a client she cares for, Carl Watkins, at her side.

Uber drivers, fast food employees, and airport workers were also arrested outside of McDonald’s restaurants in a number of cities, including Cambridge, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. Organizers said tens of thousands of people joined the protests.

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The Fight for $15 Is Unreasonable. That’s Why It’s Winning. – By Jordan Weissmann APRIL 1 2016 7:23 PM

It’s working. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It’s working.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When fast food workers first marched off their jobs in late 2012 to protest for $15-an-hour pay, their demands seemed as hopeless as they were heartfelt. In labor-friendly New York, where the protests began, the state minimum wage was just $7.25, same as the federal rate. President Obama was still a full year from backing a national minimum of $10.10. In most of the country, liberals had spent the past two years on defense, fighting kamikaze tactics by Tea Party Republicans in Congress and trying to fend off labor-gutting legislation in the states. Doubling the pay floor wasn’t on anybody’s to-do list.

Those marches, of course, kicked off the movement now known as Fight for $15. Far from hopeless, it has turned out to be the most successful progressive political project of the late Obama era, both practically and philosophically. On Thursday, California became the first state to pass a $15 minimum, which will be phased in by 2022, giving raises to a projected 5.6 million workers. Just hours later, lawmakers in Albany struck a deal that will raise the minimum within New York City to $15 by the end of 2018, before gradually ratcheting it that high across the rest of the Empire State.

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Child care workers join fast-food workers’ fight for $15 an hour by Claire Zillman – MARCH 30, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT

Child care workers are chronically underpaid, earning wages in line with fast-food workers and retail associates.

In the wake of minimum wage increases at Wal-Mart and Target, a new group of workers has joined the campaign that’s being credited for helping prompt such pay hikes.

On Tuesday, child care workers will join the Fight for $15, the movement started in 2012 by 200 fast-food workers in New York City who walked off the job to protest low pay. When the Fight for $15 stages its next protests on April 15, child care workers are expected to demonstrate alongside the home care workers and airport workers who have joined the campaign since its launch.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which backs the Fight for $15, told Fortune that child care workers protesting alongside fast-food workers illustrates a dual crisis: underpaid working parents are struggling to pay for child care and those who care for others’ children are struggling to take care of their own.

Child care workers in the U.S. earn median pay of $9.38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is comparable with the earnings of food preparation workers—$9.28 per hour—and retail sales employees—$10.29 per hour—and is especially measly when weighed against child care workers’ role in early childhood education.

Responsive, sensitive, and secure adult-child attachments are developmentally expected and biologically essential for young children; their absence signals a serious threat to child well-being, according to a 2012 study by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Findings such as these help explain the child care industry’s growing expectation that its workers have college degrees. The share of Head Start teachers with an associate or bachelor’s degree grew by 61%; for assistant teachers, it increased by 24% between 1997 and 2013.

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Fast food workers plan nationwide strike for December 4 – by Ned Resnikoff November 29, 2014 12:01AM ET Updated 2:33PM ET

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at Nov 30, 2014 1.40

Fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Workers unanimously voted on the date for the new strike during a Nov. 25 conference call, held shortly before the second anniversary of the movement’s first strike.

The first of the recent fast food strikes took place on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. Two hundred workers from various fast food restaurants around the city participated in that strike, making it the largest work stoppage to ever hit the fast food industry. Since then, the size of the movement has ballooned several times over: With the backing of the powerful service sector labor union SEIU, the campaign has come to include thousands of workers in the U.S.

One of the campaign’s main targets, the McDonald’s Corporation, has long maintained that labor protests against the company are not actually strikes in any meaningful sense.

“These are not ‘strikes,’ but are organized rallies for which demonstrators are transported to various locations, and are often paid for their participation,” said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. “At McDonald’s we respect everyone’s right to peacefully protest.”

The National Worker Organizing committee, a nationwide steering group of 26 fast food workers around the country, approved the Dec. 4 strike date before it was proposed to the rest of the workers. Workers from all 150 cities involved in the campaign were then invited to vote on the date over a Nov. 25 conference call.

The proposal for a strike date was put forth by Burger King and Pizza Hut employee Terrence Wise, a leader in the Kansas City, Missouri branch of the committee. He exhorted workers across the country to recruit more co-workers and make the Dec. 4 the date of the biggest strike yet.

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Across The Country, Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15-An-Hour Pay – by ALLISON AUBREY September 04, 201410:42 PM ET

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald's in Chicago. Hundreds of workers from McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's and other fast-food chains were expected to walk off their jobs Thursday to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour, according to labor organizers.

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald’s in Chicago. Hundreds of workers from McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and other fast-food chains were expected to walk off their jobs Thursday to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour, according to labor organizers.

M. Spencer Green/AP

Fast-food workers in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Hartford, Conn., rallied for higher wages during a day of demonstrations Thursday.

Union organizers, backed by the Service Employees International Union, are building a campaign for $15 an hour pay.

At the corner of 87th Street and South Wabash in Chicago, an intersection that has a McDonald’s on one corner and a Burger King on the other, workers chanted “$15 an hour” or sang “We Shall Not be Moved” as they blocked traffic.

“We took over the whole street,” said Jessica Davis, 26, a McDonald’s employee who lives in the Chicago area. “It was empowering.”

By early afternoon, the police had handcuffed and arrested an estimated 30 demonstrators. Similar scenes played out in other cities: In Kansas City local news reported a sit-down rally leading to arrests, protesters in Milwaukee were taken into police custody, and a march of about 100 workers in Hartford, Conn., led to several arrests.

The campaign, which started two years ago when fast-food workers in New York City rallied for higher wages, has grown. In December, demonstrators got the attention of lawmakers in Washington, sparking talk of raising the federal minimum wage to $10 or more.

But in many cities, a living wage would need to be much higher. For instance in Chicago, where Davis lives, an adult with one child needs to make about $20 an hour to support their family, according to one living wage calculator.

Davis says she makes about $9 an hour at McDonald’s, which is average for the fast food industry. She argues it’s not enough.

“It’s extremely hard. I’m forced to use government assistance to take care of my children,” Davis said. She relies, for instance, on the SNAP program, or food stamps, to buy some of her groceries.

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Workers in three states allege McDonald’s wage theft – By Ned Resnikoff 03/13/14 04:08 PM

In late 2012, fast food workers and organizers in New York orchestrated what was then the largest strike in the industry’s history, with a turnout in excess of 200 employees. Over the course of the next year, the burgeoning fast food workers’ movement attracted headlines through a series of increasingly massive labor actions, culminating in a nationwide, 100-city work stoppage.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at Mar 13, 2014 10.33 1

And then, for four months, the movement went dormant. Organizers promisedmore displays of militancy in 2014, but none were forthcoming in the first quarter of the year. Those outside the movement were left waiting to see what the next move would be.

On Thursday, the strikers made their first new play of 2014. But this time, it wasn’t a strike: Instead, fast food workers and their supporters announced that they would take their struggle to the courts. Workers at McDonald’s have filed class action lawsuits in Michigan, New York and California alleging that the fast food giant systematically steals wages from its employees.

“I used to think McDonald’s grew so big because of quality and integrity,” said Jason Hughes, one of the plaintiffs on the California lawsuit, during a Thursday conference call with reporters. “Instead I learned it’s because of cutting cost corners and squeezing workers.”

According to the lawsuits, McDonald’s engaged in several different forms of wage theft, including requiring employees to perform unpaid work, denying them overtime, preventing them from taking meal breaks and forcing them to purchase their own uniforms. The plaintiffs are targeting both individual McDonald’s franchisees and the multinational corporation itself, which directly operates some of the locations identified in the lawsuits. Even in franchised locations, attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that McDonald’s Corp. is liable for wage theft.

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Charts: Why Fast-Food Workers Are Going on Strike – While top incomes have sizzled, minimum wage has fizzled. No wonder burger flippers want a raise. —By Dave Gilson, Jaeah Lee, Ben Breedlove, and Mikela Clemmons | Wed Dec. 4, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

This Thursday, fast-food workers in more than 100 cities are planning a one-day strike to demand a “livable” wage of $15 an hour. They have a point: The lowest-paid Americans are struggling to keep up with the cost of living—and they have seen none of the gains experienced by the country’s top earners. While average incomes of the top 1 percent grew more than 270 percent since 1960, those of the bottom 90 percent grew 22 percent. And the real value of the minimum wage barely budged, increasing a total of 7 percent over those decades.

More of the numbers behind the strike and the renewed calls to raise the minimum wage:

Median hourly wage for fast-food workers nationwide:

Increase in real median wages for food service workers since 1999:

Last time the federal minimum wage exceeded $8.94/hour (in 2012 dollars):

Change in the real value of the minimum wage since 1968:


Median age of fast-food workers:

Median age of female fast-food workers:

Percentage of fast-food workers who are women:

Percentage of fast-food workers older than 20 who have kids:

Income of someone earning $8.94/hour:

Federal poverty line for a family of three:

Income of someone earning $15/hour:

Income needed for a “secure yet modest” living for a family with two adults and one child…
In the New York City area: $77,378/year
In rural Mississippi: $47,154/year

Growth in average real income of the top 1 percent since 1960:

What the current minimum wage would be if it had grown at the same rate as top incomes:
More than $25


How would you and your family fare on a typical fast-food paycheck? How much does it really take to make ends meet in your city or state? Use this calculator to get a better sense of what fast-food workers are up against.

Sources: The National Employment Law ProjectBureau of Labor Statistics, and Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. The annual costs of living for adults without children use state-wide averages from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.