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Author Topic: Low-Wage Worker Strikes Hit New Cities, Bringing The Total To 9
raybond
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Low-Wage Worker Strikes Hit New Cities, Bringing The Total To 9

By Alan Pyke on July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am


Fast food workers strike in New York in May (Credit: Salon)
Fast food workers strike in New York in May (Credit: Salon)

New strikes in the fast food and retail industries are hitting Kansas City and Flint, MI on Monday, joining their counterparts in a half-dozen other cities in walking off the job over unlivable wages. The industry that has seen the majority of U.S. job growth since the recession is under increasing pressure to raise pay and allow its workers to organize.

Workers in New York City, where the ongoing wave of fast food worker activism originated last fall, are walking out of Wendy’s and McDonald’s restaurants early Monday and holding a rally in Manhattan’s Union Square at 3:00. Kansas City and St. Louis will see both fast food and retail walkouts on Monday as well, and over the coming days they will be joined by workers in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Flint. Activists in Seattle, which saw its own fast food strikes in late May, also expect to participate in the week of action. Counting Washington, D.C., where low-wage employees of federal food and retail contractors have held three separate strikes this spring and summer, the coast-to-coast organizing push now includes nine cities.

Workers’ call for a $15 hourly wage goes further than what some members of congress have proposed recently and far beyond President Obama’s endorsement of raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour. Supporters point to businesses like Costco, which pays an hourly rate over $20 and provides benefits for most of its employees, as an example of how big U.S. businesses could invest in workers without damaging their competitiveness. The company recently reported $459 million in profits from a single quarter, up 19 percent.

The millions of private-sector jobs that have been added since the recession have mostly been low-paying service work that is insufficient to provide even a basic level of economic security. Wages in the fast food industry are far below the level required to support a family. McDonald’s runs a website intended to help employees budget, and the site’s recommendations include getting a second job to get by. While both fast food and retail employers who pay poverty wages defend their pay scales by saying they give junior employees access to economic mobility through advancement opportunities, the reality is those jobs are almost always a dead end.

Last week marked four years since the last increase to the federal minimum wage, and research suggests increasing the minimum wage would produce billions of dollars’ worth of net gains in economic activity.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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raybond
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Your Big Mac Would Only Cost $.68 More If McDonalds Doubled Its Pay

By Annie-Rose Strasser on July 30, 2013 at 10:47 am


(Credit: AP)
(Credit: AP)

If McDonalds were to double the salaries and benefits of all of its employees, from the CEO down to the minimum wage cashiers, it would still only cost an extra 68 cents for a Big Mac, according to a new report by the University of Kansas.

As fast food workers across the country are going on strike to demand a livable wage, University of Kansas research assistant Arnobio Morelix tells the Huffington Post that it would cost the average consumer mere cents to give them just that.

Currently, a minimum wage McDonalds employee makes $7.25 per hour. The CEO makes $8.75 million. But if the former were raised to $15 and the latter to $17.5 million, the dollar menu would only have to become the $1.17 menu and the Big Mac would go from $3.99 to $4.67, Morelix found.

If the CEO’s pay remained the same but low-wage workers earned more, the price difference for customers would be negligible.

These numbers underscore what low-wage workers already know: It would take very little for McDonalds to vastly improve the lives of those who make the company run. In fact, minimum wage raises have proven beneficial to a company’s bottom line.

Current wages for the lowest paid McDonalds workers are unworkable, and even the company knows that; a recent budget released by McDonalds told employees to get by through getting a second job and spending $0 on heating. Still, the company’s leadership has tried to frame itself as a charitable “above minimum wage” employer.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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IWISHIHAD
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I think we talked about this awhile back.

Sould everyone that works at a burger stand earn $15 an hour, or for that matter other places. Not as far as i am concerned.

Several things i would like to see, is that every company is required to print where there products are made, in bold print at least 1/3 the size of their company name.

Every company should be required to state where their customer service locations are, in bold print at least 1/3 the size of their company name.

Every company should have to pay much higher taxes if they use sources outside the US, unless those countries are using and equal amount of goods based on the dollar amount.

These are just a few thoughts.

-

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raybond
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You are right I whish we did but reposted the topic. Because this labor movement did not die. from a few stores in new York it moved to 9 different cities. I always remember my father told me that big things have small beginnings.

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raybond
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36 Senators Introduce Bill Prohibiting Virtually Any New Law Helping Workers

By Ian Millhiser on August 2, 2013 at 10:47 am


sweatshop

More than three-quarters of the Senate Republican caucus signed onto legislation introduced Wednesday by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) that could render it virtually impossible for Congress to enact any legislation intended to improve working conditions or otherwise regulate the workplace. Had their bill been in effect during the Twentieth Century, for example, there would likely be no nationwide minimum wage, no national ban on workplace discrimination, no national labor law and no overtime in most industries.

Like many Tea Party proposals to neuter the federal government, Coburn and Paul’s bill is marketed as an effort to bring America back in line with a long-ago discarded vision of the Constitution. It’s named the “Enumerated Powers Act of 2013,” a reference to the provisions of the Constitution outlining Congress’ specific powers, and it claims to require all federal legislation to “’contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution’ that is the basis for its enactment.”

The key provision in this bill, however, would revive a discredited interpretation of the Constitution that America abandoned nearly eight decades ago. Although the text of the bill is not yet available online, a press release from Coburn’s office explains that it “[p]rohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for ‘the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes.’”

To translate this language a bit, in the late 19th Century, the Supreme Court embraced an unusually narrow interpretation of the Constitution’s provision enabling Congress to “regulate commerce . . . among the several states.” Under this narrow reading, which lasted less than half a century, the justices said that they would only permit federal laws that regulated the transport of goods for sale or a sale itself. Manufacturing, mining, production and agriculture were all held to be beyond federal regulation. This theory was the basis for several decisions striking down basic labor protections, including a 1918 decision declaring a child labor law unconstitutional.

Coburn and Paul’s bill appears to be an attempt to restore the constitutional regime that prohibited child labor regulation and other such nationwide regulation of the American workplace. While the bill does not apply retroactively — so existing labor laws would continue to function — the bill does allow a procedural objection to be raised against any new legislation that does not comply with the limits imposed by the bill. Such an objection could be used to block any most attempts to enact new workplace laws — such as a bill increasing the national minimum wage or a bill prohibiting all employers from firing workers because they are gay. Similarly, Coburn and Paul’s bill could permanently entrench decisions by the conservative Roberts Court rolling back existing protections for workers — such as a recent decision shielding many employers whose senior employees engage in sexual harassment.

Such an effort to shrink the constitutional role of government until it is small enough to be drowned in a bathtub is consistent with Paul and Coburn’s records. Last March, Paul praised a particularly infamous Supreme Court decision empowering employers to ruthlessly exploit their workers. Coburn told a town hall meeting in 2011 that Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional because “that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.”

What is somewhat surprising, however, is the sheer breadth of support for Coburn and Paul’s discredited view of the Constitution within the Senate Republican Caucus. According to Coburn’s press release, their bill is cosponsored by “Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), Cruz (R-TX), Enzi (R-WY), Fischer (R-NE), Flake (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johnson (R-WI), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Scott (R-SC), Sessions (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), and Wicker (R-MS).”

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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Upside
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Ray,
In your opinion what should an entry level position at McDonalds pay? Or for that matter any similar job like checkout person at Bed, Bath and Beyond? What's a proper hourly rate for jobs like those?

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raybond
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In my opinion and I back this opinion through the DNC, Church and various labor organizations through out the state that I work for on a volunteer basis. A minimum wage should if you work full time be able to provide you with clean shelter, food, and enough to provide you with a modest savings and meet you needs.

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Walmart Workers Arrested While Protesting Unjust Firings, Low Wages

By Aviva Shen on August 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm


walmartarrest
CREDIT: Marianne Manilov via Twitter

Ten former and current Walmart employees were arrested at a rally in front of the retail giant’s offices in Washington, DC Thursday afternoon. The workers were blocking the door to the DC office to demand the company give them their jobs back and raise wages overall.

The activists say Walmart retaliated against them after they joined a strike calling for wage reform. The company is notorious for cutting workers’ hours while paying them poverty wages. Workers have also reported being denied bathroom breaks or basic medical accommodations. The protesters on Thursday called on Walmart to stop retaliating against workers and offer full-time jobs that pay at least $25,000 a year.

These ten workers are hardly the first to accuse Walmart of intimidation. According to The Nation, 20 workers who participated in a June strike against the chain were fired, while 50 others were disciplined. A spokesman admitted the company tells workers who ask about unionizing that they could lose their benefits. Other workers say they were fired, suspended, and disciplined after participating in strikes.

Barbara Collins, who was arrested Thursday, penned a column for Salon this week explaining why she was willing to risk arrest. “Despite the years I’ve invested there, I was never guaranteed 40 hours a week,” Collins wrote. “Sometimes, I was scheduled as few as eight hours a week. I had to visit three different local food banks one month just to feed my family. Eventually, I had to turn to food stamps.”

Collins is just one of many Walmart employees who must turn to government benefits because Walmart won’t pay them a livable wage. A recent Congressional report found that a single Walmart store’s staff consume roughly a million dollars in public benefits every year in order to survive.

Walmart claims these employees were not fired for participating in the strike, but because they violated the attendance policy by striking instead of showing up to work.

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raybond
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Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an issue that was hugely popular with the public, fit perfectly into the progressive agenda, appealed to the white working class, and split the Republican Party right in half? Sounds to be good to be true, right? Actually, it’s hiding in plain sight: raising the minimum wage.

Start with overall public opinion. The public’s views on many policy issues can be very complicated; there are nuances to the nuances, so to speak. The polling on the minimum wage, however, is about as unnuanced as it comes. People just think it’s the right thing to do and decades of attempts by conservatives to convince the public otherwise have been an abject failure. Take, for instance, this Pew Research poll from early 2013. By a thumping 71-26 margin, the public said it favored increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour.

Moreover, there was astonishingly strong support across demographic groups. Blacks and Hispanics supported the proposal by 91-8 and 83-14, respectively, and whites felt similarly by a not-as-large-but-still-strong 64-33 margin. Those with family incomes below $30,000 supported raising the minimum wage by 79-20, but so did those with incomes above $75,000, who were also on board by a high (65-32) margin:

Unsurprisingly, Democrats and independents supported a higher minimum wage by, respectively, 87-11 and 68-28. But here’s where it gets really interesting: Republicans also supported a rate hike, albeit by a narrow 50-47 margin. So raising the minimum wage roughly slices the GOP down the middle.

This split in support has a very distinct class character. Working class (non-college) Republicans supported the proposal by 58-40, while college-educated Republicans opposed it by 60-34. Similarly, low income Republicans (less than $30,000) supported raising the minimum wage by 68-31 while high income Republicans (over $75,000) opposed such a raise by 57-40:

Of course, even strenuous advocacy of raising the minimum wage will not suddenly persuade a majority of white working class Republicans to support progressive candidates. But even modest white working class defections would go a long way, even — or perhaps especially — in red states.

No wonder Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is running for Mitch McConnell’s seat in Kentucky, is making a higher minimum wage a central part of her campaign. In fact, the only really hard thing to understand here is why more candidates with progressive views on the minimum wage aren’t following Grimes’ lead. Let’s hope in the future they will.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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CashCowMoo
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We probably should raise the minimum wage. Our dollar is worth less and less. Obama is like the pump and dump dilution machine when it comes to the dollar and debt.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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CashCowMoo
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Six miracles of socialism: There is no unemployment, but no one works. No one works, but everyone gets paid. Everyone gets paid, but there is nothing to buy with the money. No one can buy anything, but everyone owns everything. Everyone owns everything, but no one is satisfied. No one is satisfied, but 99% of the people vote for the system. This is presented in extreme form but truth nonetheless.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Six miracles of socialism: There is no unemployment, but no one works. No one works, but everyone gets paid. Everyone gets paid, but there is nothing to buy with the money. No one can buy anything, but everyone owns everything. Everyone owns everything, but no one is satisfied. No one is satisfied, but 99% of the people vote for the system. This is presented in extreme form but truth nonetheless.

And in the end everyone is standing in the streets throwing Rocks...

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Let's Go METS!!!

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raybond
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Well republicans sounds like the same argument you had fifty years ago. Sounds to me like it is time for you guys to change thumbs. [Good Luck]

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Associated Press
Candice Choi and Karen Matthews, Associated Press 5 hours ago
.





NEW YORK (AP) -- Fast-food customers in search of burgers and fries on Thursday might run into striking workers instead.

Organizers say thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities around the country, part of a push to get chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to pay workers higher wages.

It's expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200 of the nation's millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities.

Thursday's planned walkouts follow a series of strikes that began last November in New York City, then spread to cities including Chicago, Detroit and Seattle. Workers say they want $15 an hour, which would be about $31,000 a year for full-time employees. That's more than double the federal minimum wage, which many fast food workers make, of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year.

The move comes amid calls from the White House, some members of Congress and economists to hike the federal minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. But most proposals seek a far more modest increase than the ones workers are asking for, with President Barack Obama wanting to boost it to $9 an hour.

The push has brought considerable media attention to a staple of the fast-food industry — the so-called "McJobs" that are known for their low pay and limited prospects. But the workers taking part in the strikes still represent a tiny fraction of the broader industry. And it's not clear if the strikes on Thursday will shut down any restaurants because organizers made their plans public earlier in a call for workers around the country to participate, which gave managers time to adjust their staffing levels. More broadly, it's not clear how many customers are aware of the movement, with turnout for past strikes relatively low in some cities.

Laila Jennings, a 29-year-old sales associate at T.J. Maxx, was eating at a McDonald's in New York City this week and said she hadn't heard of the movement. Still, she said she thinks workers should be paid more. "They work on their feet all day," Jennings said, adding that $12 to $15 an hour seemed fair.

As it stands, fast-food workers say they can't live on what they're paid.

Shaniqua Davis, 20, lives in the Bronx with her boyfriend, who is unemployed, and their 1-year-old daughter. Davis has worked at a McDonald's a few blocks from her apartment for the past three months, earning $7.25 an hour. Her schedule varies, but she never gets close to 40 hours a week. "Forty? Never. They refuse to let you get to that (many) hours."

Her weekly paycheck is $150 or much lower. "One of my paychecks, I only got $71 on there. So I wasn't able to do much with that. My daughter needs stuff, I need to get stuff for my apartment," said Davis, who plans to take part in the strike Thursday.

She pays the rent with public assistance but struggles to afford food, diapers, subway and taxi fares, cable TV and other expenses with her paycheck.

"It's really hard," she said. "If I didn't have public assistance to help me out, I think I would have been out on the street already with the money I make at McDonald's."

McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. say that they don't make decisions about pay for the independent franchisees that operate the majority of their U.S. restaurants.

For the restaurants it does own, McDonald's said in a statement that pay starts at minimum wage but the range goes higher, depending on the employee's position and experience level. It said that raising entry-level wages would mean higher overall costs, which could result in higher prices on menus.

"That would potentially have a negative impact on employment and business growth in our restaurants, as well as value for our customers," the company said in a statement.

The Wendy's Co. and Yum Brands Inc., which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, did not respond to a request for comment.

The National Restaurant Association says the low wages reflect the fact that most fast-food workers tend to be younger and have little work experience. Scott DeFife, a spokesman for the group, says that doubling wages would hurt job creation, noting that fast-food chains are already facing higher costs for ingredients, as well as new regulations that will require them to pay more in health care costs.

Still, the actions are striking a chord in some corners.

Robert Reich, a worker advocate and former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, said that the struggles of living on low wages is hitting close to home for many because of the weak economic climate.

"More and more, people are aware of someone either in their wider circle of friends or extended family who has fallen on hard times," Reich said.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which is providing the fast-food strikes with financial support and training, said the actions in recent months show that fast-food workers can be mobilized, despite the industry's relatively higher turnover rates and younger age.

"The reality has totally blown through the obstacles," she said.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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raybond
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Update


According to a press release from organizers, Thursday’s strike has exceeded expectations with workers in 58 cities are participating. From the release: “Workers went on the pre-Labor Day strike in Alameda, CA; Atlanta; Aurora, CO; Austin, TX; Ballwin, MO; Belleville, Ill; Berkeley, CA; Bloomington, Ill; Boston; Charlotte; Chicago; Columbia, MO; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Durham; East St. Louis, Ill; Flint; Fremont, CA; Greensboro; Gretna, LA; Hartford; Hayward, CA; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, MO; Lansing; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Madison, WI; Manchester, CT; Memphis; Milwaukee; Missoula, MT; Newark, CA; New Orleans; New York; Northglenn, CO; North Las Vegas; Oakland; Richmond, CA; Peoria; Phoenix; Pontiac, MI; Raleigh; Richmond, CA; San Diego; San Leandro, CA; San Lorenzo, CA.; Seattle; Springfield, Ill; St. Louis; Tacoma, WA; Tampa; Topeka, KS; Wausau, WI; West Haven, CT; and Wilmington, DE.”

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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IWISHIHAD
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Good luck, hope they have a backup plan for employment. Taxpayers will pay in the end.

-

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Upside
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Funny, I was in Milwaukee today and got my # 6 combo meal at McDonalds lickety split, just like always.

I'm betting that this strike accomplishes just as much as the Occupy movement did.......nothing. 30k per year to stick a burger in a sack and hand it out the drive through window to me? Not a chance.

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On Strike

Aug 29, 2013 | By CAP Action War Room

Fast Food Workers Strike for a Higher Minimum Wage

Fast food workers in at least 60 cities across the country went on strike today in order to demand a living wage.

MinWageStrike2

MinWageStrike1

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) notes that the median wage for fast food workers at chains like KFC, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell is just $8.94 per hour.

Meanwhile, the industry is raking in $200 BILLION a year in profits and CEOs are literally making thousands of dollars per hour:


Yet while top executives at food corporations like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Olive Garden and Red Lobster make an average of $9.4 million per year, or $4,517 per hour, a full-time worker on minimum wage earns $15,080 per year — less than those execs pull down in four hours. And while the industry takes in $200 billion a year, many of its workers rely on taxpayer-subsidized food stamps and Medicaid to get by.

Here are some fast facts about the minimum wage — and why it’s time to raise it.

Raising the Minimum Wage Would Boost the Economy

When the minimum wage is increased for workers, the entire economy benefits. Increasing the minimum wage would put money in the pocket of workers, who are likely to spend the money immediately on things like housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services helps stimulate the economy. The money gets funneled back to employers who would need to hire more staff to keep up with the demand.

Millions of Americans Would Benefit From Increasing the Minimum Wage

Millions of workers would benefit from raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would not just help those who earn the minimum wage. Workers earning near the new minimum wage would also see an indirect increase due to what economists call a spillover effect. Women would benefit tremendously from raising the minimum wage. Most minimum wage workers are women—in 2012, over 64% of minimum-wage workers were women.

Wages Have Not Kept Up With Increased Productivity or Inflation

Over the past few decades, worker productivity in the U.S. has risen dramatically, but the average American worker is not reaping the benefits. Instead, wages have grown at a tepid pace, and workers are getting a smaller and smaller piece of the pie.

Wages are not keeping pace with increased productivity. From 1968 to 2012, worker productivity rose 124%. If the minimum wage kept up with increases in worker productivity, the minimum wage would be close to $22 an hour. The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation. Back in 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. If the minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be $10.74 today. Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is 31% lower than the value of the minimum wage in 1968.

Rising Inequality

Although the average workers’ wages have remained stagnant, the pay for those at the top has skyrocketed.

CEOs make 273 times more than average workers do. In 1965, CEOs made 20.1 times the pay of the average worker. By 2012, that ratio was more than 10 times larger: CEOs made 273 times the pay of the average worker in 2012. The 1% is getting richer and richer. Between 1979 and 2007, the richest top 1% of American households saw their income rise by 281%, or an increase of more than $973,000 per household. Meanwhile, the poorest Americans saw an increase in their income of only 16%, or $2,400.

Raising the Minimum Wage is a Winning Issue

Raising the minimum wage, which nearly three in four Americans supports, is also “a political goldmine” for Democrats:


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an issue that was hugely popular with the public, fit perfectly into the progressive agenda, appealed to the white working class, and split the Republican Party right in half? Sounds to be good to be true, right? Actually, it’s hiding in plain sight: raising the minimum wage.

BOTTOM LINE: One demand of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which happened 50 years ago yesterday, was “a national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent standard of living.” As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, our increasingly economically unequal society, and the plight of low-wage workers, it’s clear that it’s way past time to raise the minimum wage.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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CashCowMoo
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Rays America:

Start at 1:20


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDEKmI7qKKQ

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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IWISHIHAD
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Originally Posted By Upside:

Funny, I was in Milwaukee today and got my # 6 combo meal at McDonalds lickety split, just like always.

I'm betting that this strike accomplishes just as much as the Occupy movement did.......nothing. 30k per year to stick a burger in a sack and hand it out the drive through window to me? Not a chance
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If it went through, we would have all those college people with 4 year degrees that can't find jobs, standing in the line for burger jobs.

So that would mean most of those people at the jobs now would be in the unemployment line.

But like you say, this strike will accomplish nothing, except some of them losing their jobs.

Besides if it accomplished their goal, many of the smaller burger places would go out of business, either way many of those strikers would lose, or should i say taxpayers would... both

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Lockman
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Lets see, if the price of the Mcdonalds Hamburger increases it may just be the answer to Americas over weight problem.

Most of the people eating at McDonald's are probably minimum wage earners, so the increase in wages will be offset by the increase in prices.

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CashCowMoo
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This is an attack on poor working class Americans. Liberals are attacking them by driving up the costs of cheap food that many depend on. They dont have good grocers in the urban core because they all get shot up and robbed, so all that is left are fast food joints with welfare priced dollar menu burgers.

Shame, shame, shame.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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Eleven Other Things American Workers Deserve (Besides A Day Off)

By ThinkProgress on September 2, 2013 at 9:25 am


Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, who spends most days on an oil rig or in an office, on the assembly line or on the docks, making the American economy run. The holiday originated in 1894, after two dozen people were killed during the Pullman Strike, a railway workers’ boycott of low wages and high rent. From there, it became an American tradition, meant to honor the accomplishments of the people who make this nation run.

In observance of the holiday, ThinkProgress will be taking the day off. But while we will be celebrating the many accomplishments of laborers in this nation and around the world, we’ll also remember that the battle is not yet won. Unions are on the decline, while income inequality is on the rise. Women still aren’t earning what men make. And many employees still aren’t free from discrimination at their jobs.

Here are just eleven of the fights we’re still fighting for the American worker:

1. Paid sick leave

Paid Sick Leave Banner AP
CREDIT: AP

A full 40 percent of private sector workers and 80 percent of low-income workers do not receive paid sick days at all, which holds back workers from taking the time to take care of themselves, a child, or loved one. A number of studies show how paid sick leave is a net benefit to both employers and employees, providing job growth and income security without any drag on the economy. While several major cities have required paid sick time, federal legislation has not yet passed Congress.

2. A living wage

US Minimum Wage
CREDIT: AP

The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for four years, even as cost of living rises. Even full-time minimum wage workers can’t afford rent in any state in the union. If the minimum wage is raised to $9, as President Obama has called for, millions of workers would be lifted out of poverty, while household spending would grow by $48 billion, providing a much-needed boost to the economy. On Thursday, fast food workers staged walk-outs and strikes in 50 cities demanding a living wage. To keep wages consistent with inflation from where they stood in the 1960s, minimum wage would be about $10 an hour.

3. A safe workplace

Bosnia female colliers AP
CREDIT: AP

Coal miners have suffered a recent surge in black lung disease. But a proposed U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administrationrule meant to address it has been stalled for three years, thanks to Republicans in Congress and repeated delays by MSHA and the Department of Labor. Moreover, too many miners, plant employees, and domestic workers lack safe workplaces and adequate protection and with sequestration cutting workplace safety spending, increased funding and additional regulations are needed to keep Americans out of toxic workplaces.

4. Employment protection for LGBT workers

Same Sex Marriage AP
CREDIT: AP

For all the strides that LGBT equality has made in the last few years, there’s a shocking omission when it comes to the workplace: In 29 states in the US, it’s legal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian. In 34, you can be fired for being transgender. There’s a piece of legislation that would fix this: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been proposed several times, but Congress has repeatedly failed to pass it into law. The Senate is expected to vote on ENDA again, and it’s already enjoyed bipartisan support in Senate committee. It’s highly unlikely, though, that ENDA could pass through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives this congressional term.

5. Full rights for domestic work

Aging America Home Health Workers AP
CREDIT: AP

Thanks to a labor law loophole known as the “companionship exemption,” home care workers — who swap out patients’ bed pans, tend to wounds, and help the disabled and elderly carry out basic functions of day-to-day life — aren’t guaranteed minimum wage or overtime pay. Full-time home health aides only earn $9.70 per hour on average, or $20,000 per year. President Obama introduced a change that would give domestic workers full rights in December of 2011, but the comment period was delayed twice and one group says it is stuck down the regulatory ‘rabbit hole.’” In the meantime, the majority of home care workers earn poverty-level wages and make so little that nearly 40 percent rely on public benefits to survive.

6. Restored anti-discrimination laws

Sexual Harassment Shutterstock
CREDIT: Shutterstock

The Supreme Court handed a huge victory to bosses who engage in sexual or racial harassment last June. On the same day, the justices also left many victims of workplace retaliation powerless against their employers. They drastically weakened older workers’ right to be free from age discrimination and permitted employers to force their workers to sign away their legal rights under pain of termination. Congress can enact legislation that overrules every one of these decisions, both to restore workers’ rights and to infuse some much-needed humility into five increasingly partisan justices.

7. Humane treatment for agricultural workers

Migrant Workers AP
CREDIT: AP

Migrant farm laborers, some of whom are legal residents, must endure punishing work conditions like pesticide exposure and unpaid hours. They are also denied basic work protections, are often at the mercy of their employers, and are among the poorest of the working class. While courts in California and New Mexico have only begun to mandate equal protection and employer penalties, more needs to be done for the agricultural workers living in other states.

8. More protections for unpaid interns

Dan Stein, Max Mallory, Andrew Hamm
CREDIT: AP

Unpaid interns aren’t considered employees, which makes them ineligible for basic protections in the workplace. They aren’t protected against sexual harassment, are highly vulnerable to exploitation and disadvantage lower-income students who need a paying job to make ends meet. Fortunately, though, the tide seems to be turning. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) has proposed awarding grants to low-income students with unpaid internships, essentially turning them into work-study opportunities. A court also recently ruled that Fox Searchlight violated minimum wage and overtime laws by failing to compensate its interns. Former unpaid interns elsewhere are filing similar lawsuits to demand justice.

9. Sustainable employment

China Solar City
CREDIT: AP

Workers need jobs, and the steps needed to address climate change can help. Clean energy investment isn’t just popular, it leads to three times more jobs — and more American jobs — than fossil fuels. These green jobs produce efficiency upgrades, renewable energy products, and drive public transportation. Many are accessible to people without a college degree. Indeed, cutting carbon pollution can lead to more manufacturing jobs. Take the success of California as an example the U.S. could institute a National Clean Energy Standard, which would create 300,000 jobs along with $260 billion in new investment.

10. Labor rights for college athletes

NCAA
CREDIT: AP

The debate over whether college athletes should be compensated for playing sports rages on, particularly as they continue to have little voice in the NCAA system. Athletes are fighting now over the use of their likenesses to earn big money for schools, the NCAA, and private companies, and even some schools are pushing to extend more benefits to their players. The debate runs deeper than compensation, though. States like California have moved to provide more scholarship and health care protections to players who get hurt on the field to ensure that they’ll have a chance to continue their education even without sports, and in Congress and state legislatures, lawmakers are attempting to protect athletes from the dangers of sports injuries like concussions in ways that the NCAA, which was formed to protect college athletes, will not.

11. Time to spend with your newborn

Texas Medicaid Debate
CREDIT: AP

The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that doesn’t require employers to provide paid maternity leave — not to mention leave for new fathers, which only 50 developed countries offer. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers are required to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to expecting mothers, but a lot of people are excluded from that requirement. A March 2011 study found that only 11 percent of private sector workers, and 17 percent of the public sector, gets any paid leave. But there’s good reason to think we should be offering better benefits to our new parents. Studies indicate that paid parental leave is good for workplace retention and increases worker morale. And it’s good for companies, too, since they save money on training and start-up costs for new employees when new parents are forced to choose between losing their jobs or leaving their kids

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The Burger Place Paying Entry-Level Workers $15 An Hour

By Bryce Covert on September 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm


lowwagejobMichigan’s Moo Cluck Moo currently pays entry-level workers $12 an hour — far above the state floor of $7.40 — but come October 1, that starting wage will rise to $15, co-owner Brian Parker told the Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross.

Asked why the restaurant, which has only been open since the spring, will raise its wages, Parker told Gross, “We always wanted to be at $15 an hour. It just feels human to do it.”

Its previously high wages brought the company better customer service, more skilled employees, less turnover, and free publicity. The time saved from having to hire new workers and train them will save it money. And with five people working at any given time, the increase in wages will mean an increase in hourly costs of $15, the cost of two transactions. The owners are betting that it will be a good investment.

While the restaurant only has one location outside of Detroit, other larger companies have followed a similar path. The West Coast In-N-Out burger chain pays entry-level workers $10.50 an hour. Massachusetts-based burrito chain Boloco pays $10 an hour and also wants to increase that figure. Dicks Drive-In in Seattle starts at $10.

Increasing wages has been found to be good for the bottom line. Raising the minimum wage can help businesses by increasing productivity, lowering turnover, and boosting demand from workers who have more money to spend on the food they make. There is also scant evidence that it hurts jobs.

Yet while the CEO of fast food giant McDonald’s claims its workers are paid above the minimum wage, wages are still too low for workers to get by. It admitted so itself when it created a model budget that instructed workers to get a second job and skip paying for heat. The pay in the industry generally is so low that workers have been striking for $15, the wage being offered at Moo Cluck Moo, with a strike that hit 58 cities last month.

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CashCowMoo
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But I want to look at it from a different angle. What happens if you take a low-wage business, like fast food, and turn it into a high-wage business?

The operator of that business has to automate functions and then hire a smaller staff that makes more money. Look at the European countries where there already are higher wage rates. Their fast food restaurants have automated everything from ordering to paying. The cooking in the kitchen is done by robotics!

So when you raise wage rates in a labor-intensive business, you ultimately reduce how much labor it takes to run that business. Because machines take the place of workers. And that's why economics is called the dismal science!


http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clarkhoward/business-entrepreneurs/should-minimu m-wage-be-raised/nZ75T/

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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raybond
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you have a point. I say the owner of any business can do what ever they want to do with there business.

But the wage struggle will go on if you can't live on 7.25 an hour you will have to strike. That is a fact of life.

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quote:
Originally posted by raybond:
you have a point. I say the owner of any business can do what ever they want to do with there business.

But the wage struggle will go on if you can't live on 7.25 an hour you will have to strike. That is a fact of life.

No doubt you cant live on minimum wage. Inflation and our debt problem are only making it harder on the poor.
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Yes inflation has some to do with it. Greed and the profit motive are the main problem, and ,how the try to extract more money out of there product.

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IWISHIHAD
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Originally Posted By Raybond:

Yes inflation has some to do with it. Greed and the profit motive are the main problem, and ,how the try to extract more money out of there product
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Not sure those ideas add up to the same thing, as far as employers are concerned.
Profit is almost always a motive when running any business, except a non profit one.

It's not an easy task these days to extract more money out of any product, with all the competition all over the world.

So many of the US businesses get eaten up alive by the foreign market, because they cannot compete with the super low wages in other countries.

That's why we are seeing more and more chains in this country,and less and less small businesses,they can't compete any more.

Wallgeens, CVS, Costco and the list goes on. The little guys try and try and try, but are finding it harder and harder to survive in the business atmosphere being set. Mom and pops stores are going to be gone forever... what a shame

Made in USA is also following the mom and pops.

This trend(large companies) allows the greed to grow, but profit is not the reason, it might be the end result,but its not the real cause. Some of these indivuals could care less about profit, it's their personal gain they care about. Some of their personal gain could be tied to the profit of a company.

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raybond
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nothing wrong with profit you need it , it is when you try to cheapen your product to get more profit. As far as inflation goes it effects all merchants the same wally world does not get a special rate on inflation.

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IWISHIHAD
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Originally Posted By Raybond:

nothing wrong with profit you need it , it is when you try to cheapen your product to get more profit. As far as inflation goes it effects all merchants the same wally world does not get a special rate on inflation.
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Greed is greed. It just in certain situations it allows you to get more, business is just one of them.

It appears the times have changed and the people seem to be more greedy in the last thirty + years.

Some i feel has to do with the economy and some the changing family life styles over the last 50 years. I am sure there are other reasons, but many people seem to be unhappy with their economic situation and their lives, no matter where they are at in the chain, or where ever they get to.

I can understand the lower end ones more than i can understand the upper ones.

Family seems to be way down the chain as far as importance, even though many say otherwise.

I don't think there is a chance of reversing the trend anymore, it would be nice to see more family life for the kids sake.

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glassman
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http://www.allamericanclothing.com/made-in-usa/jeans.html?gclid=CI61zo3287kCFctr 7Aodo1wAAg

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Duluth Trading company;
Men's Ballroom 5-Pocket Jeans Made in USA


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i wanted to try out their 12 oz firehose fabric jeans, but apparently they are not made in the USA [Frown]

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