Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Go On Strike, “Fight for $15”

shortlink here:  mnemonic here:

Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Go On Strike For Higher Wages

Photo credit: Ryan L. Williams
Hundreds of retail and fast food workers went on a coordinated strike this morning to call for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize without interference.

Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago issues new report:  A Case for $15:

Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago / Fight for 15 – Lucha por 15 WOCC:

Fast Food Forward (NYC):

#strikefor15, #fightfor15, #fastfoodforward

Occupy Oakland Brings Fast Food Workers “Fight for $15” to Oakland

shortlink here:   mnemonic here:

Recently hundreds of fast food workers participated in a wildcat strike in New York City to demand $15/dollars per hour. Now it looks like workers in Chicago are going for it as well. We need to Fight for Fifteen in Oakland!

Rampant gentrification and exploitation abounds in Oakland, with stores run by massively profitable corporations thriving off the labor of workers barely making minimum wage or more, but we know we can’t survive in this town on $8/hr. Bring this class tension to the forefront by fighting for a livable wage!

The May Day Fight for Fifteen assembly is planning for and publicizing a noise demo through downtown Oakland on May 1st aka May Day, the traditional holiday to commemorate workers’ struggles.

Fight for 15 – Lucha por 15 WOCC: Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago

Fast Food Forward (NYC):

Online Petition: Raise the National Minimum Wage to $10.10 and Index It.

Raise the Minimum Wage   By Roger Hickey (Contact)

To be delivered to: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate   Petition Statement

We, the undersigned, urge the leaders of the House and Senate to allow an up-or-down vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and then index it to inflation.   Petition Background

4.4 million Americans currently earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25, or less. 284,000 of them are college graduates. Worse, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. After adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage is lower than it was in 1956.   Raising the minimum wage would not only help the working poor, but also the economy as a whole. According to the Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would grow the economy by increasing consumer spending, resulting in approximately 140,000 net new jobs over three years.

There are currently 18,575 signatures

Does A Higher Minumum Wage Lead to Restaurant Job Losses – NO!

via Politifact Oregon, go to link below for the entire article!

Has Oregon’s higher minimum wage hurt our restaurant industry?

Melvin “Mel” Sickler, a representative of the National Restaurant Association, recently told a U.S. Senate committee to put the brakes on a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage and tie it to inflation. Why? Boosting the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would reduce the number of jobs in the food service industry, Sickler said. The claim: In his testimony, Sickler trotted Oregon out as an example of a state with a high minimum wage (it’s $8.95) tied to inflation, saying that’s happened here. Here’s what he said: “Given the experience in states that have raised their minimum wages above the federal rate, we know the impact The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would have, if enacted, on the availability of jobs in my industry. “For example, Oregon’s state minimum wage is now $8.95, more than a dollar less than what is being proposed in The Fair Minimum Wage

Act of 2013. After peaking at 16.4 employees per establishment in 1996, the average number of workers in Oregon’s restaurants declined steadily.” Wow, right?

See, lots of things happened between 1997 and 2011. Brewpubs began sprouting up like mushrooms across the state. Food carts blossomed in downtown Portland, then throughout the metro area. Foodie culture hit, increasing the interest in small locally owned restaurants over big national chains. There also were a couple recessions. We weren’t sure of the effects of all those things, so we looked at the underlying data. There we found that the yearly number of food service establishments in Oregon grew each year from 1997 through 2011. Employment grew every year except 2010, when it took a tiny dip. The “employees per establishment” number quoted by the restaurant association, seems to have changed over time, but not because of amassive drop in employment or restaurants. If you control for population growth, you get a clearer indication of the impact of recessions and the business cycle on the industry.

That’s just what Lehner did. His conclusion was that Oregon’s a pretty good place to nosh. From 2001 to 2011, Oregon consistently had more establishments per 1,000 people than the U.S. average, and it had more people working in the food service industry per 1,000 people than the national average. During the entire time, Oregon’s minimum wage was higher than the national average and steadily crept up, matching inflation.

Rep. Jason Metsa Lives on Minimum Wage for A Week

For minimum-wage earners in Minnesota, ‘a constant juggling act’

By Michael Moore, St. Paul Union Advocate

April 12, 2013

The state legislator spending a week on minimum wage met Thursday with three Minnesotans for whom the minimum-wage challenge is an everyday reality. Four days into his five-day walk in the shoes of the state’s lowest-paid workers, Rep. Jason Metsa listened as three minimum-wage earners related the experiences Metsa wouldn’t have during his five-day experiment.

Things like health care, housing costs and the unpredictable nature of most low-wage jobs – those are the challenges Avita Samuels, Janiece Watts and Robert Schiff shared with Metsa, the DFLer from Virginia, Minn., who accepted Working America’s challenge to live a week on Minnesota’s minimum wage of $7.25.   A bill in the Minnesota House would boost that minimum wage to $9.95 per hour. Seeing it become law, Samuels said, would mean more than a bigger paycheck; it would mean respect for the work she does.

“I take pride in my job. I want to do the best I can,” the 23-year-old retail worker told Metsa. “I don’t want to have to ask for a higher minimum wage, but I have to.”

40-hour week no guarantee

Metsa’s minimum-wage budget of $290 assumes a 40-hour workweek, but that’s rarely a reality for retail workers like Samuels and Watts.

Samuels, a student at the University of Minnesota, juggles work with school. Watts, who works in a grocery store, found herself in a similar situation until she graduated last year.

Now she juggles work with trying to find another job. “Every so often I pick up some extra hours, but most of the time I work 24 hours per week,” the 24-year-old said.

Answer To An Abusive Anti-Worker Post on A Blog

The below is my personal expression of opinion, it is not an official statement of the Eureka Fair Wage Act.

Bill Holmes

shortlink here:  mnemonic:

Anonymous Coward: “You can train monkeys to run equipment these days. They work for bananas, and are probably smarter than most unskilled workers.”

You just keep thinking that way.  Go ahead, go on dissing young workers.  The Republican Party and its war on workers is now below 20% in statewide registrations.  The GOP is California’s newest third party. Decline to State is the new second party.  Demographics – and time – are on my side.

Meanwhile back in Realityville I can tell you that young workers – and I have talked to a shitload of them in the last year – like the idea of making more  money, and they know how hard they are working and under what conditions.

Forty years ago when I was young working in a convenience store was a pretty shitty job.  I did it.  Lots of people do it.  I don’t hold myself above people who are forced to or who choose to work at these kinds of jobs.   These days these kinds of jobs are far shittier than they used to be, to the point of abuse.   For one thing, as technology has progressed, the productivity of each worker has multiplied over the last few decades, thus each dollar paid in wages is producing more wealth for the owners of businesses.  What this means in Realityville is that each worker is now doing the work of five people.   Walk into CVS, each employee there wears many hats.   Checker.  Shelf Stocker.  Janitor.  Manager.  Assistant Manager.  Photo processor.  Health consultant. beauty consultant,  Banker.  Security. oh and my favorite one of you gets to wear a headset and answer phone calls from the public while you are doing your other stuff.  You can multitask can’t you? Oh and be sure to be helpful and pleasant or we’ll can your ass.

And the scheduling is inhuman these days.   Back in the day you would get hired for one of these jobs they would give you a full time schedule – which back then mostly meant 5 days and 40 hours – or they would give you a part time schedule if that was the agreement and that would usually be static.  Same hours and days every week.  Now this is where technology comes into it especially about 10 years ago.  People developed scheduling software to optimize crew sizes for all kinds of businesses, but especially for large fast food and retail employers.  This software enables an employer to statistically estimate future business expectation in the near future on a day by day and hour by hour basis, whiich enables the employer to optimize her crew size (and wage expense) by use of part time workers and the use of split shifts, double shifts and double backs.  It is a practice that is efficient for the employer but one that has no regard for the human workers.  Constant change in working shifts can have severe effects on the physical and mental health of the workers.  Constantly changing shifts make it impossible for even the ambitious worker to go out and find a second job, as they cannot commit to any hours with a second employer.

And of course even full time employees are often scheduled for 6 days a week, but only  5 or 6 hours a day.   Does any reader here need to ask why?

I often hear the labor movement celebrate the 40 hour workweek.  But the 40 hour week  has come and gone.  It is time to either mourn it or bring it back to life.

have a peaceful day, Bill

NYC Fast Food Workers Strike for $15, Smeared by Fox & Friends

Fox Smears Striking NYC Fast Food Workers While Pushing Minimum Wage Myths Blog››› April 5, 2013 11:17 AM EDT ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

Fox News campaigned against New York City fast food workers who are striking to secure higher wages by attacking their work ethic and pushing falsehoods about the minimum wage that they are paid.

On April 4, hundreds of fast food workers in New York City walked out of their workplaces, striking against their current wage of $7.25 an hour and pushing to be paid a livable wage of $15 an hour. The New York Times reported that many of the striking workers “say they can barely get by on the $7.25, $8 or $9 an hour that many receive.”

On April 5, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade responded to the strike by claiming that the minimum wage many fast food workers are paid was never supposed to be a “career wage” and if workers wanted to earn more, they need to get an additional job or work harder in order to earn a pay raise or promotion. Co-host Steve Doocy followed by hyping a restaurant industry group claim that raising the minimum wage would prove ruinous for the industry and for workers:

Despite the restaurant industry’s position that Doocy read on-air, increasing the minimum wage would not kill jobs. According to a February CEPR report, most of the evidence from recent studies on the subject show that there is “little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage” because employers shift the cost of the pay increase and the pay increase would decrease costs associated with high turnover in low-wage jobs.

284,000 College Graduates Had Minimum-Wage Jobs Last Year

284,000 College Graduates Had Minimum-Wage Jobs Last Year

shortlink here:  mnemonic here:

Posted: 03/31/2013 4:27 pm EDT | Updated: 04/01/2013 10:27 am EDT

A college degree doesn’t guarantee anyone a big paycheck anymore.

About 284,000 Americans with college degrees were working minimum wage jobs last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s 70 percent more college grads working for the minimum wage than 10 years ago. Still, the number is down from its 2010 high of 327,000.