Low wage employees across the nation are planning to hold a day of strikes to demand for higher pay. This is just the most recent protest that was held in the US since fall. The walkout before Labor Day will be held in restaurants such as KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King during peak lunch hours.
The workers want $15 per hour pay as well as right to form a union without any fear of retaliation from the management. The strike is intended to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which was a protest about civil rights and economic justice.
President Barack Obama spoke at a ceremony commemorating the March on Washington last Wednesday. He stated that most of the march’s goals have been achieved but it failed to provide economic opportunity for Americans.
The demonstrations at fast food establishments come as low wage jobs lead employment growth in the 4 year old recovery. More adults find themselves employed in jobs that used to be stepping stones for teenagers.
The trend has threatened the social safety net of the United States. More than a quarter of Americans earning less than $15 per hour get one or more social services, such as Medicaid and food stamps. Around 48 million people get food stamps, which is more than in any year of the recent recession.
Low wages for Americans reduced consumer spending and economic growth. This sparked the rally in fast food and other industries that have been insulated from union influence as more Americans become frustrated with their financial status.
Most of the low wage workplaces rely on temporary, part time, or immigrant workers who have difficult to organize. The companies are owned by powerful corporations that discouraged union efforts within their ranks.
Labor officials tried to adopt new strategies to unite workers as they build a wider base of potential union members. This move came as the membership to unions dropped to 11.5 percent from 25 percent in 1980.