Low-wage workers from eight cities that staged walkouts earlier this year are calling for a national day of strikes on Aug. 29th as part of a campaign lead mostly by young people of color called, Fight for 15. The Fight for 15 campaign calls for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union. Most low wage workers make a non livable minimum wage which is currently $7.25.
For the corporations that employ these workers, of course it’s a different story. McDonald’s makes $27 billion in annual revenue, which makes them the 90th largest economy in the world, and their CEO makes $8.75 million. According to Carl Gibson, co-founder of US Uncut, “the gap between salaries of McDonald’s workers and the CEO is fairly typical. The incomes of the bottom 90 percent of Americans grew by roughly $59 in the last 40 years, while the incomes of the top 10 percent rose by an average of $116,071.”
And before you say that these companies can’t afford to pay their workers that much, check the story of Moo Cluck Moo, a new burger joint in Dearborn Heights, Michigan that pays it’s employees $12.00 a hour. According to Allen Fisher, the restaurant’s managing partner, “it’s the right thing to do.” In addition to higher wages, Moo Cluck Moo has an exclusive training program that qualifies each of its employees for a better job and a higher pay rate. And they can afford all of this with just one location!
I was blessed to attended a meeting for the Fight for 15 in Detroit last week and the energy of the young people in attendance was incredible. I saw youth from as far away as Seattle and Los Angeles standing up for their rights and demanding a humane wage. It reminded me of the stance the Dream Defenders were taking up in Florida, our generation is waking up and ready to take our rightful position in this movement. The August 29th walkout coincides with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Labor Day, and organizers expect to reach 35 or more cities and involve thousands of workers.