Fast food workers are striking across America, seeking a minimum wage of $15 per hour, which translates to $31,200 annually based on a 40-hour work week.
That’s more than double the current national minimum wage of $7.25 at which most fast food positions start.
Although fast food workers in many states enjoy a minimum wage higher than that declared by the federal government—19 states and the District of Columbia—the highest minimum wage is in Washington, which offers its fast food workers and other minimum wage employees $9.19 per hour. Four states have a minimum wage below the national and five states do not require one.
The message from Fast Food Forward, a strike organizer in New York, is “We can’t survive on $7.25!”
Low Pay Is Not OK has a strike locator tool to let people know if there is a movement near them in order to participate (which will probably serve other folks to know where to avoid strikes).
The New York Times report that a ballot measure to raise the pay rate in SeaTac, Wash. to $15 per hour recently passed by 77 votes.
“I think it starts here and I don’t think it stops until it reaches Wall Street and Washington DC,” said David Rolf, the president of the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union.
“What we need is a social movement in this country that says enough is enough.”
Not everyone is buying that brand, however. Some argue that higher pay to fast food workers will trigger a rise in unemployment and inflation. In order to pay fast food workers the $30,000 annual salary for which they strike, the price of products would skyrocket.
Those already making $30K a year, many of whom are college-educated, will be instantly undercut; without a similar raise in pay across the board, millions of middle class Americans employed in skilled positions will be making the same amount of money as a drive thru window cashier.
What’s the incentive, therefore, to pursue an education?
What do you think about the fast food strike? Should fast food employees be paid more than double the current entry-level salary? Has the fast food strike affected your life?