Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fast Food strikes, women, Labor Day, democracy: an elite without pity part 4



For parts one, two and three, see here, here, and here.

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Fast food workers are waging strike actions around the country. See here for a delightful photographic summary from Low Pay is not Okay. My son-in-law helped lead such actions at Logan Airport yesterday. This is a creative movement of the worst paid workers, led by women as Andrea Marcotte underlines below. These workers are also often victimized by racism (the wages of whites kept down as well), are fighting for a living wage, not a Ronald McDonald wage. The bad joke has been on working people; these demonstrations, led by black and latin women, echo the spirit of American workers historically from Haymarket to Pullman to Ludlow. They fight for decent conditions for those who actually work for a living and have to support and educate families, the future citizens of America. Their cause, especially the cause of minority women, is our cause. It is democracy's cause.

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Here is Marcotte's report for Slate:

"Who’s Behind the Fast Food Strikes? Working Women.
By Amanda Marcotte | Posted Monday, Sept. 2, 2013,

For the photo, see here.
Ladies in the front
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Putting the "labor" back in Labor Day, fast food workers across the country have gone on strike, demanding better wages and calling for the minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. It's being billed as the biggest service industry strike in history, and a response to the uneven economic recovery, in which 88 percent of growth went to corporate profits and only 1 percent to wages. It's also an event that drives home just how much the modern American labor movement depends on female workers.

Sally Kohn, writing for The Daily Beast, explains:

'People of color make up 32 percent of the total American workforce but a disproportionate 42 percent of minimum-wage earners. And in the restaurant and fast-food industries, the majority of those workers are women of color—who, studies show, are paid 60 percent less than their male counterparts. Over 13 percent of food-industry workers rely on food stamps to feed their own families, almost double the rate of workers in other industries.'

Conservative politicians are always hammering on about how working class mothers, especially single mothers, need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and fight for better lives for themselves and their families. Well, that's exactly what they are doing.

This is a labor movement that is structured largely around the needs articulated by the working mothers in it, women who, with or without a partner, are often trying to raise families on minimum wage jobs. Women make up two-thirds of the fast food work force, and a quarter of workers are raising children. The disturbingly low wages they get for this work make relying on public assistance to get by inevitable. In other words, the American taxpayer is bearing a huge chunk of the labor costs for wildly profitable companies like McDonald's. These workers are trying to change that by shifting the burden from the taxpayer to their employers, by forcing their employers to pay a living wage. And it's women that are leading the way."

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Labor Day is a day to celebrate ordinary workers. It came about, as Paul Krugman says, through the great Pullman strike of 1894 in which President Grover Cleveland – no doubt a figure to be honored because he was...President – had workers shot by the army. Congress was so embarrassed that it declared Labor Day.

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Krugman amusingly compares that Congress, in the Gilded Age, to the parasite Congress of today. Now the venomous Paul Cantor or Presidential candidate Mitt Romney condemn working Americans as parasites – that is, in Jung's terms, technically projection: both of these men are parasites who see mistakenly in those who make their bloat possible themselves. Romney once went to China, saw 18 women sleeping on triple bunks working 6 days a week for little pay in manufacturing for foreign sales – and rubbed his hands together, plotting to make money. If that is human or compassionate, what is it to be inhuman?

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Krugman has come to another simple but obvious Marxian conclusion. The .0001% run the government. Would that the evidence, in the absence, for a quarter of a century, of a Soviet opponent, were not so glaring…

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Commendably, however, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has hailed these strikes. See here. Ruling class interests need not, faced with democratic struggle from below, be indecent.

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Another cause of Labor Day, which Krugman does not include (it is a short column after all) was to answer May Day. After the Civil War, Marx wrote in chapter 10 of Capital, the emancipation of black labor led to a new burst in the American labor movement centered around the fight for the 8 hour day and the formation of a large movement, the Knights of Labor. Anarchists and other radicals were vital in this movement, which grew between 1866 – the founding meeting of the Baltimore Labor Congress - and 1868 the first International’s resolution to fight globally for shorter hours – into a wave of organizing and strikes culminating in the demonstration at Haymarket where someone blew off a bomb (probably a provocateur) and 8 speakers were tried. Four immigrant Italian and German radicals were hung and four others courageously pardoned by subsequent governor Altgeld "the eagle" as Vachel Lindsay hailed him, see "A journey from the South" here, here and here. This was a paradigm of racist and anti-radical panic, something that has long marked American history and sweeps up so-called whites. Southern and Eastern Europeans as well as Jews were marked as “inferior” by Aryan or eugenic ideology in the United States, enshrined in these hangings and in phrenology and IQ testing which pioneered pseudoscientific racism in the United States and Germany.

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So the workers stood against the aggravated parasitism – Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve is but the most recent pseudoscientific planting of the vapid “ideas” of Mitt Romney, Paul Cantor and John Roberts (the recent Supreme Court decision licensing disenfranchisement of the poor, students and the elderly in twenty “Republican”-led states).

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Internationally, the first socialist parties met and declared May Day – May 1 - in honor of the American fight for the 8 hour day. The first demonstration in Europe, North America and Chile occurred on May 1, 1890. Such marches had over a million workers in New York alone, marching from Brooklyn into Manhattan from dawn to dusk, on May 1 between the end of World War II and 1950. In celebrations all over the world, this is still the real international workers’ day.

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Labor Day became, from the beginning and especially during the Cold War, a “patriotic” answer to May Day. But now the Cold War has faded. Now everyone can see that the American elite belligerently wages war – and spares no expense, even a trillion dollars a year – for new missiles and 1280 bases abroad, but strives to seize every scrap of social security or reverse the Affordable Health Care act (the most conservative proposal for universal health coverage, launched initially by the Rand Corporation and enacted by Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts – like John Kerry, Mitt, too, was for it before he was against it…)

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Krugman captures some of the embarrassment, though not quite all of the historic depth (one more matter of history that is not “fit to print” in the New York Times which is mainly a guardian of elite interests, though it occasionally, editorially, stands, as in the case of torture, for greater decency than the American elite, bipartisanly, now tolerates.

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Dean Saitta, the chair of the anthropology department at the University of Denver as well as my colleague on the University Senate Committee to assess the role of Governor John Evans in the Sand Creek Massacre, has long worked on the Ludlow massacre of coal miners by the army, serving Colorado Fuel and Iron and John D. Rockefeller. Dean is part of a commission to educate students in Colorado about what another crime the government committed. For Labor Day, the Denver Post commendably printed his article on Ludlow which underlines the struggles of coal miners to live and how capitalists and the army wantonly murdered peaceful protestors including women and children.

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Dean brings up the analogy with the murders at the Mackey-owned coal mine in Montcoal, West Virginia in 2010. He is able, even more than Krugman’s article, to suggest that we have similar problems and need similar policies. In our current circumstance of elite dementia (one major party which is anti-science as well as projecting all of its own ugliness on the poor, on children, on Romney's “47%”). Dean’s questions bring out what we need to make a decent place. It will take these kinds of struggles from below, now self-consciously nonviolent, to make the elite come back to this planet, if possible, and start trying to live with, not destroy, the rest of us…

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"New York Times
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Love for Labor Lost
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: September 1, 2013

It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor.

Here’s how it happened: In 1894 Pullman workers, facing wage cuts in the wake of a financial crisis, went on strike — and Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 soldiers to break the union. He succeeded, but using armed force to protect the interests of property was so blatant that even the Gilded Age was shocked. So Congress, in a lame attempt at appeasement, unanimously passed legislation symbolically honoring the nation’s workers.

It’s all hard to imagine now. Not the bit about financial crisis and wage cuts — that’s going on all around us. Not the bit about the state serving the interests of the wealthy — look at who got bailed out, and who didn’t, after our latter-day version of the Panic of 1893. No, what’s unimaginable now is that Congress would unanimously offer even an empty gesture of support for workers’ dignity. For the fact is that many of today’s politicians can’t even bring themselves to fake respect for ordinary working Americans.

Consider, for example, how Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, marked Labor Day last year: with a Twitter post declaring “Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.” Yep, he saw Labor Day as an occasion to honor business owners.

More broadly, consider the ever-widening definition of those whom conservatives consider parasites. Time was when their ire was directed at bums on welfare. But even at the program’s peak, the number of Americans on “welfare” — Aid to Families With Dependent Children — never exceeded about 5 percent of the population. And that program’s far less generous successor, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, reaches less than 2 percent of Americans.

Yet even as the number of Americans on what we used to consider welfare has declined, the number of citizens the right considers “takers” rather than “makers” — people of whom Mitt Romney complained, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives” — has exploded, to encompass almost half the population. And the great majority of this newly defined army of moochers consists of working families that don’t pay income taxes but do pay payroll taxes (most of the rest are elderly).

How can someone who works for a living be considered the moral equivalent of a bum on welfare? Well, part of the answer is that many people on the right engage in word games: they talk about how someone doesn’t pay income taxes, and hope that their listeners fail to notice the word “income” and forget about all the other taxes lower-income working Americans pay.

But it is also true that modern America, while it has pretty much eliminated traditional welfare, does have other programs designed to help the less well-off — notably the earned-income tax credit, food stamps and Medicaid. The majority of these programs’ beneficiaries are either children, the elderly or working adults — this is true by definition for the tax credit, which only supplements earned income, and turns out in practice to be true of the other programs. So if you consider someone who works hard trying to make ends meet, but also gets some help from the government, a “taker,” you’re going to have contempt for a very large number of American workers and their families.

Oh, and just wait until Obamacare kicks in, and millions more working Americans start receiving subsidies to help them purchase health insurance.

You might ask why we should provide any aid to working Americans — after all, they aren’t completely destitute. But the fact is that economic inequality has soared over the past few decades, and while a handful of people have stratospheric incomes, a far larger number of Americans find that no matter how hard they work, they can’t afford the basics of a middle-class existence — health insurance in particular, but even putting food on the table can be a problem. Saying that they can use some help shouldn’t make us think any less of them, and it certainly shouldn’t reduce the respect we grant to anyone who works hard and plays by the rules.

But obviously that’s not the way everyone sees it. In particular, there are evidently a lot of wealthy people in America who consider anyone who isn’t wealthy a loser — an attitude that has clearly gotten stronger as the gap between the 1 percent and everyone else has widened. And such people have a lot of friends in Washington.

So, this time around will we be hearing anything from Mr. Cantor and his colleagues suggesting that they actually do respect people who work for a living? Maybe. But the one thing we’ll know for sure is that they don’t mean it."

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"DENVER POST OPINION
Deadly Ludlow strike resonates 100 years later
By Dean Saitta
POSTED: 08/30/2013 10:06:25 AM

An April 1914 photo captioned "Armed strikers in the Trinidad District in Colorado" pictured United Mine Workers of America members in Ludlow, Colo. The photo was taken by Survey Associates Inc. and was published in 1915.

On April 5, 2010, 29 coal miners died in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in Montcoal, W.Va.. Approximately one year later, the official report on the explosion concluded that the disaster was man-made and could have been prevented had the Massey Energy Company followed "basic, well-tested, and historically proven safety procedures."

This tragic story helps illustrate the fundamental truth of philosopher George Santayana's adage that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It was 100 years ago that coal miners in southern Colorado left the company towns above Trinidad and Walsenburg to strike against the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company for ignoring established mine safety laws. Corporate greed put Colorado mines among the most dangerous in the nation, with miners dying at a rate twice the national average. The strike would climax with the Ludlow massacre of April 20, 1914, in which two women and 11 children died in a tent cellar after their striker's camp was raided and burned by Colorado militia. It would finally end in December 1914, when the United Mine Workers of America could no longer afford to support the Ludlow strikers.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow strike. Earlier this year, the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration Commission was established by executive order of Gov. John Hickenlooper. The goal of the commission is to develop statewide programming — including lectures and exhibits — to commemorate the events of 1913 and 1914. This aspect of Colorado's history is unknown to many people and misunderstood by others. The commission will help educate citizens about the causes and consequences of the strike by working in tandem with local historical societies, museums, libraries, churches and other institutions. Programming will begin this month and run until December 2014.

Perhaps most significantly, the programs will relate the Ludlow story to topics and questions that are of major importance in the world today. One of these topics is the right of people to work in a safe environment. Are current workplace safety laws adequate? Should corporate violators be legally prosecuted as felons, especially if a worker dies in a preventable job-related accident?

The Ludlow miners were also striking for basic economic justice: a living wage and enforcement of the eight-hour workday. The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act guaranteeing a minimum wage and limiting the length of the workweek is currently being end-run by businesses that classify employees as "exempt" from the law or find other ways to extract unpaid labor from them. Does this portend a return of the 19th century robber baron?

Many decry the growing gap between rich and poor, between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. We hear lamentations about the disappearing middle class. What can be done to close the income gap? What is the role of organized labor in this effort?

Scholars have established that declining union membership explains 20 to 30 percent of rising social inequality. Is it time for another New Deal?

We're currently grappling with questions around the relative merits of alternative forms of energy production. Colorado coal mining was essential to early 20th century steel manufacturing and railroad expansion. It helped link remote geographies and nurtured the growth of Denver and other Western cities.

At the same time, it promoted an addiction to fossil fuels, something that puts the long-term sustainability of Western cities in serious doubt. Coal mining is currently making a comeback in Colorado, with new mines opening and others being expanded. This promises jobs, but it also poses threats to the natural environment and human health as mining operations encroach on public lands and vent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The Ludlow story even has implications for urban planning and governance, especially as it concerns the growing multiculturalism of American communities. Two dozen languages were spoken in Ludlow's "White City," a description of the striker's camp that likened its canvas tents to the gleaming stucco facades of Daniel Burnham's neoclassical buildings at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (and that served as inspiration for the design of Denver's Civic Center park).

How did the Ludlow strikers overcome their cultural differences to maintain a long strike in a makeshift community on a desolate piece of prairie under conditions of serious economic deprivation through one of the worst winters in Colorado history? What shared values and identities allowed Ludlow's diverse immigrant population to re-build their community after it was devastated on April 20, 1914? Does Ludlow teach us anything about how to create and manage an inclusive, intercultural city?

This list doesn't begin to exhaust the number of topics and questions having contemporary relevance. In using the past to improve the present and future — as Santayana implies that we should — we are limited only by our individual and collective imagination. This is the spirit in which we seek to remember what happened at Ludlow 100 years ago, and those who lost their lives in pursuit of an American dream.

Dean Saitta is an anthropology professor at the University of Denver and a member of the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration Commission.

***

"Grio
BUSINESS
Fast food workers strike for a living wage to support their families
by David A. Love | September 2, 2013

For the photograph, see here.

Employees and supporters demonstrate outside of a Wendy's fast-food restaurant to demand higher pay and the right to form a union on July 29, 2013 in New York City. Across the country thousands of low-wage workers are expected to walk off their jobs Monday at fast food establishments in seven U.S. cities. Workers at KFC, Wendy's, Burger King, McDonald's and other restaurants are calling for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


On this Labor Day, the nation is witnessing a new movement to improve the living standards of fast food workers, who are fighting for a livable wage to feed their families.

On August 29—the day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington—fast food workers around the U.S. staged a walkout in hundreds of stores in 50 cities, their largest protest ever. This comes a month after a four-day wave of strikes in which workers in seven cities walked off the job, reflecting a trend in recent years of activity in the growing retail and service industry.

With support from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), these strikers are demanding $15 an hour, a raise from the current minimum wage of $7.25, and the right to form unions without threats from their employer. The Obama administration has proposed a minimum wage hike to $9 per hour. For the labor unions, this recent campaign provides the opportunity to raise the floor for the lowest of wages in the nation. These low-paying jobs are replacing the higher-skilled, higher-paying positions lost with the decline in manufacturing and the gutting of the American labor market.

Moreover, the fast food strikes provide an opportunity to debunk the myth that the typical fast food worker is a teenager pursuing his or her first afterschool job, or an elderly person seeking some supplemental income. In an economy where the bottom has fallen out for millions of working Americans— with stagnating wages and fewer well-paying job opportunities — the fast food industry has witnessed a rapid growth in adult workers, who are attempting to raise families working in these part-time jobs, with poverty wages.

According to a study released in July by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the average wage for frontline fast food workers is $8.94 per hour, among the lowest in the U.S. economy. Front-line jobs, including non-managerial positions such as cashiers, cooks and delivery staff, account for 89.1 percent of the fast food industry, while first-line supervisors with a median hourly wage of $13.06 hold 8.7 percent of the jobs. And franchise owners make up — on average — one percent of fast food jobholders, with there being a franchise owner for every 99 employees.

At Papa John’s Pizza, there is one franchise owner for every 141 workers, while at Burger King, there is a franchisee for every 198 employees. At Wendy’s there is a franchise owner for every 260 employees, and at McDonald’s, there is a franchise owner for every 293 workers.

In all, managerial, professional and technical positions are a mere 2.2 percent of jobs in the fast food industry, in contrast to 31.1 percent of jobs in the U.S. economy. NELP emphasizes the statistics counter the “mobility myth” common in the fast food industry— that these low wage jobs provide a ladder of success and access to the “American Dream” through advancement to the managerial ranks and franchisee opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the low $9 per hour earned by the nation’s 2.9 million food preparation and serving workers has been on the decline in value compared to 1982-1984 dollars. In contrast, production and non-supervisory workers earn $20.14, and non-farm workers earn an average of $23.98.

Moreover, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported that food preparation and serving occupations have the highest proportion of workers at or above the poverty level with 73.6 percent, or nearly three-quarters, as of 2010. The 2010 median salary for a fast food worker—$18,130—was at the federal poverty level for a family of three.

Poverty-wage workers, including union workers, are more likely to be women, young and of color in the new service economy. According to EPI, one-quarter of Americans work in low-paying jobs, which is at or below the federal poverty level for a family of four, which was $23,005 per year in 2011. White women are less than half the workforce, but make up 55.1 percent of poverty-wage workers. Workers between 18 and 25 were 15.5 percent of the workforce in 2011, but were 35.5 percent of poverty-wage workers.

Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented among low-wage workers. African-Americans were 11 percent of the workforce in 2011, yet made up 14.1 percent of all poverty-wage workers. Similarly, Hispanics constituted 15.3 percent of the workforce in 2011, but 23.6 percent of poverty-wage workers. Whites are underrepresented among the poverty-wage workforce, accounting for 66.9 percent of all workers, but only 55.9 percent of all poverty-wage workers.

Meanwhile, in 2011, only 31.5 percent of poverty-wage workers lived in households with greater than $50,000 in family income, while 31 percent lived in households with less than $25,000 in family income. These figures counter the notion that many fast-food workers live in high-income households, such as a teenager with well-to-do parents, or an adult with a higher-earning spouse.

In addition, there are educational disparities among-low wage workers. For example, workers with a high school diploma or less were 36.4 percent of the total workforce in 2011, but were also 54.3 percent percent of low-wage workers. Yet, workers with some college education are overrepresented as well, accounting for 19.7 percent of the national workforce, but 26.4 percent of poverty-wage workers.

The workers in the $200 billion a year fast food industry are dependent on food stamps at twice the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce, and rely on other government programs such as Medicaid just to make ends meet. This comes as Don Thompson, the CEO of McDonald’s, has seen his compensation more than triple to $13.75 million.

Meanwhile, the Low Pay Is Not OK movement, as the fast-food workers’ campaign is called, is helping to breathe new life and activism into a moribund labor movement, which stands at a 97-year low of 11.3 percent of all U.S. workers, down from a high of 35 percent participation in the 1950s."

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And here is an article by Ned Resnikoff at MSNBC, underlining the connection between mass action from below, the revival of the labor movement, and the hope for democracy and decency in this country. He even draws a striking analogy of the federalism of the movement to restrict child labor and that to make the parasitic minimum wage a decent one:

"MSNBC
Among the poorest paid, a new labor revival
Ned Resnikoff
09/02/2013

For the photograph, see here.

Workers protest outside McDonald’s as part of a nationwide strike by fast-food workers to call for wages of $15 an hour, in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2013. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Movements don’t hold still; they either keep pushing forward or they decline. American labor has been doing the latter for the better part of a century.

When organized labor peaked in the mid-fifties, roughly one-third of all American workers were union members. Now only 11.3% are enrolled in unions, including 6.6% of private sector employees. Should the trend of de-unionization continue, it is not unreasonable to wonder whether there will be any American labor movement to speak of in twenty years or so.

But that may change. Over the past several months, a new kind of labor activism has emerged from some of America’s poorest-paying and least-unionized industries. Fast food workers have stood near the forefront of the movement, waging a nationwide strike campaign which began in December with about 200 New York-based fast food employees and now encompasses thousands of workers spread across 58 cities.

The affected cities range from New York to Seattle, and from Detroit to Memphis. The strikers come from a variety of different backgrounds, but the majority of them are poor people of color, forced to scrape by on what they can earn from one or two low-wage jobs and a bit of public assistance. When they walk the picket line, many of these striker carry signs with expressions like, “I AM A MAN,” a reference to the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike and a sign that many workers consider this campaign to be as much about human dignity as it is about wages.

Few would deny that something significant is happening at the bottom rungs of the fast food industry. What remains unclear is whether those workers can save organized labor, let alone themselves.

One of America’s biggest unions is staking millions of dollars on the answer. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which lays claim to over two million members worldwide, has poured its substantial resources and manpower into growing the spontaneous fast food strikes from a local phenomenon to a national campaign. Hundreds of other unions and political organizations have also pledged support, but SEIU remains the nascent movement’s most prominent institutional benefactor.

If the fast food workers achieve tangible results, it could transform low-wage fast food and retail in the same way that the United Auto Workers (UAW) and other unions helped to transform manufacturing during the 1930s. Their efforts, combined with the stimulative impact of World War II, helped birth a new American middle class and an organized labor Golden Age.

Organizing in a different era, the fast food movement could lead to transformative change on a similarly grand scale.

Fast food workers are demanding a new base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. If the appeal for higher pay were granted, it would effectively wipe out a substantial chunk of what is now called the low-wage economy. Fast food would likely shed some jobs, but it would also become an industry which pays a living wage to all of its employees, potentially driving up wages across the whole economy in the process. Many current union members, while not the primary beneficiaries, would likely feel the wage hike’s positive effects when bargaining for a salary increase.
The results would be similarly dramatic if the fast food industry became a union stronghold on par with the post-war automotive industry. The ailing labor movement would receive a sudden influx of new members, and even non-union service and retail outlets might be forced to raise wages if they hoped to retain employees—or keep those employees from joining a picket line.

But of the fast workers’ two goals, unionization is the one less likely to be realized on any significant level. The industry’s franchising model takes much of the responsibility for workplace conditions away from fast food corporations and places it in the hands of local managers. Building meaningful union density through thousands of small-bore, franchise-by-franchise organizing drives would be all but impossible; if unions are to establish a stable foothold within the industry, their best bet is to somehow legally circumvent the franchise structure and make national corporations into the primary bargaining entities.

While raising fast food wages to $15 per hour would also be a difficult feat, the path to doing so is at least more apparent. Fast food strikes might help create the momentum for state-by-state minimum wage increases; after a certain tipping point, federal minimum wage legislation could very well follow. Political scientist Dorian Warren refers to this model as “progressive federalism,” and argues that it was effective in largely wiping out legal child labor.

But regardless of whether the fast food workers’ movement achieves either of its stated goals, it has already accomplished something important for the labor movement. Thousands of workers have been activated and politicized in the last industry where such a thing seemed possible. The resulting strikes have done more than draw attention to class and inequality; they have also helped to revive a long-dormant model for how democratic societies deal with such issues. Instead of treating these issues like purely electoral or legislative problems, fast food workers are taking democratic engagement into the street and the workplace. What’s more, national media, corporations, and political institutions are paying attention. That may not be enough to have a lasting impact, but it’s certainly a start."

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