Low-wage fast-food workers in dozens of cities are on strike today to protest against their current pay, and request a $15 hourly wage and the right to be represented by a trade union. Other low-wage employees including teacher assistants, retail and home-care workers are also expected to join in the fight.
These people announced that they would continue fighting to earn the proposed living wage of $15 hourly. They also complained that their industries do not grant them job security and do not compensate a lot of their work. Also, fast-food restaurant workers say that they are often burnt at their work places, but no one seems to care.
In Kansas City, protesters will gather at Theis Park where they will start marching for better pay and a union. This year, Kansas teacher assistants said that they would request $15,000 per class.
Nationwide, about 200 similar events are expected to occur in today’s rally. The events’ organizers hope that this year’s April 15 would be “biggest-ever mobilization of underpaid workers.”
They also hope that fast-food workers will be accompanied in their protests, walk-outs and rallies by a cohort of low-wage workers from health care, education, union organizers, and social justice advocacy groups.
In Kansas, not only fast-food workers will have something to say. Adjunct teachers are already flooding the streets as they cannot handle their meager pay. In Kansas City alone, six events are scheduled including protests in front of a pair of McDonald’s restaurants and a march from Theis Park to the University of Missouri’ campus.
Adjuncts currently want that collective bargain will also apply to them since many of them live with the minimum wage pay, although they hold Ph.D. degrees and various college-level teaching courses.
One teacher explained that she and her husband are both teachers, but he has a full-time job at the university while she is a part-time adjunct. As a result, he earns about $50,000 per year, while she cannot make more than $15,000 a year without benefits no matter how much she worked for that money.
Adjunct teachers currently want a union to put pressure on schools to change the current situation.
Today’s protesters said that they felt energized by the announcements made by McDonald’s, WalMart and other retailers to raise the minimum wage a little.
Strikers said they were confident that more strikes would push their employers into granting them their $15 per hourly wage which they have been fighting for since 2012.
“People thought we were crazy to call for $15 an hour, but all across the country, cities, states and employers are raising wages significantly because of the stand we are taking,”
explained a former KFC employee who was involved in the NYC protest about two and a half years ago.
On the other hand, employers claim that the recent wage hike was the result of the free market, rather than protests. They said that unemployment rate significantly slipped recently, so there are fewer job seekers to choose from. As a result, employers, raised hourly wages to attract more personnel.
Conservatives and professional organizations also believe that a free market should be the only force to control wage levels, rather than the government or the collective bargaining.
Image Source: Soda Head