Across the United States, fast food workers have been striking in an effort to draw attention to their low wage problem. Minimum wage in America is currently $7.25 an hour. According to fastfoodfoward.org, the website built in support of the strike, this amount is far too little for anyone to survive on.
“While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by,” reads the homepage. Who hasn’t notice the uptick in “dollar menus” across the fast food industry? As the recession reduced available spending money, a cheap burger to go made more sense than a larger, more expensive meal. Even as the industry successfully weathered the bad economy, pay for the people on the frontlines of these fast food chains has failed to budge.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) December 6, 2013
Frustrated, workers have taken to the streets with signs and demands for change. Protests have occurred in over a hundred cities. The vast majority of protests took place in the eastern half of the United States. The largest pocket of protests seem to be in the state of Michigan.
Despite the wide array of people who turned out to strike, a misconception still exists in America where fast food jobs are worked by pimple-faced teenagers still living at home. Many fast food workers are adults and a disconcerting number of them are college graduates. Billions of dollars of aid is often needed to support persons employed as fast food workers.
— The Guardian (@guardian) December 5, 2013
Despite the success of drawing attention to their plight, bringing about change is going to be very hard for protesters. First, the higher-ups at many of the fast food chains have said that it is the local franchise owners that determine the wages, not the companies themselves. Second, there are millions of workers across different companies, cities, franchises. Organizing with the intent to unionize will be very difficult.
It is simply hoped by strikers that shining a light on the desperate situation of the fast food workers will perhaps be enough to make something happen.
Image: Fast Food Forward Facebook