Who could avoid feeling warm this holiday season when hundreds of workers at Wal-Mart stores across the country went on strike during Black Friday? And today, workers at New York City fast food outlets walked off the jobs, to demand $15 per hour wages and the right to organize.
For those of us who have been around the labor movement for a minute, it seems like a wave of actions sweeping through non-union and low-wage workplaces. For the moment, the number of workers involved are probably not large enough to win major demands. But they are certainly creating the inspiration for other workers to stand up and fight.
The fast food workers have their work cut out for them. The structure of the industry (based on franchising), and the competitive pressures in an industry where fixed capital is a relatively small, means no owner will want to be the first to crack. I am guessing the workers will be combining their workplace actions with a legislative push around the minimum wage.
Reading about the workers' motivation to strike, I am reminded of a former airport worker who is now a union leader. His first action was handing out a flyer which read 'A burger, fries and a drink costs more than I make in an hour.' Bosses who force their workers to raise families on $7.25 an hour should be behind bars.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project
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