Thursday’s strike has hit McDonald's, Burger king and other fast food stores in the U.S. The strike will go on in in fifty to sixty cities, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Raleigh and Seattle. According to an Aug. 29 Reuters article, some stores in those cities are closed because of the strike.
Fast food workers might be joined by retail workers at Dollar Tree, Macy's and Sears. An Aug 29 NPR reports says that this could be the largest retail food and dry goods worker's strike ever.
The worker's goal is to get twice the federal minimum wage and to organize unions where there are none. A minimum wage of $15 is not that hurtful to retailers that are raking in record profits.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. At that rate, a part-time worker who puts in 20 hours a week will earn about $10,000 annually, and this is not a living wage. McDonald's alone raked in over $5.47 billion in profit during 2012. Since the workers contributed to such productivity, they should have much higher wages than $7.25 per hour.
The fast food industry sector accounts for $200 billion in food production and retail operations. This industry sector also created the most jobs that do not offer benefits or pay a living wage.
While being anti-union, paying low wages and offering no benefits has generated unprecedented profits for investors, it does nothing for the worker’s buying power. This does not help the economy. If the businesses respond by cutting jobs, then they will cut service, food safety and sales.
If the employers fight the strike and do not offer at least the recommended $10 minimum wage, they might lose enough profit to get the message across.