Fast food workers in 15 cities throughout the nation went on a one-day strike on February 16, to demand that their employers—together with McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s—pay them $15 an hour and provides them union rights.
The hassle, which is a part of the nationwide Battle for 15 motion, comes as lawmakers in Washington debate enacting a $15-an-hour federal minimal wage as a part of President Biden’s first COVID-19 aid package deal.
The strikes additionally honor Black Historical past Month by emphasizing the generations of low pay and missing office protections amongst Black workers, historic inequities which were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and which have left Black Individuals significantly weak to each the virus and its financial devastation.
“Final yr as we mourned the Black lives misplaced and communities of shade destroyed by the pandemic, McDonald’s continued to prioritize its earnings over the well being and security of workers,”says McDonald’s employee Taiwanna Milligan in a press release supplied by Battle for 15. McDonald’s has continued to do the “naked minimal” in the course of the pandemic, like making workers reuse or pay for new masks, she says. “I felt like we needed to take our security into our personal fingers, so I made a decision to stroll off the job and go on strike.”
The federal minimal wage is $7.25; it hasn’t elevated in greater than 11 years, the longest interval with no elevate in the historical past of the minimal wage. Particular person cities and states—together with New York, Massachusetts, and California—have raised their minimal wage ground, and are all in the method of slowly growing the minimal wage to $15 an hour.
Joe Biden had pledged assist for a $15 federal minimal wage throughout his marketing campaign, however now it’s unclear how rapidly it’d advance by means of Washington. His $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package deal may ship on that promise. That invoice was handed in the Home final week with a plan to boost the minimal wage to $15 over 4 years, although it nonetheless faces an unclear future in the Senate. If the Senate can’t get a $15 minimal wage in this American Rescue Package deal, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen advised The Hill that it’s “important that we enact the $15 minimal wage in the approaching weeks.”
For these on strike on Tuesday, $15 an hour is an pressing ask. The elevate would enhance the incomes of 32 million workers, together with 59% p.c of working households with incomes below the poverty line, in keeping with the Financial Coverage Institute. Practically one third of all Black workers would obtain a elevate, and one out of 4 workers who would profit could be a Black or Latina girl.
The quick food workers on strike Tuesday are in Charleston, Chicago, Detroit, Durham, Flint, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Oakland, Orlando, Raleigh, Sacramento, San Jose, St. Louis and Tampa. House care and nursing house workers with the Nationwide Home Workers Alliance and the Service Workers Worldwide Union, in addition to some workers not but in a union, are additionally holding 15 actions in 15 cities in assist of a $15 minimal wage on Tuesday.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been vocal about his assist for a $15 minimal wage elevate as a part of the American Rescue Package deal, additionally spoke up on Tuesday to again the workers striking. “I stand in sturdy solidarity with quick food workers throughout this nation who are happening strike at this time to demand $15 an hour and a union,” he stated on Twitter. “The Senate should elevate the minimal wage to $15 an hour with 51 votes this yr. We’ve obtained to finish the disaster of hunger wages in America.”