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Striking fast food workers and supporters rally in front of a midtown Manhattan McDonald's. Early morning, November 29, 2012.
Hundreds of New York City fast food workers are staging a one-day strike against many of the biggest fast food chains, including McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell, Domino's, Papa John's. The attempt to organize dozens of fast food restaurants within a single city is something new, a big step beyond efforts to go restaurant by restaurant, and Steven Greenhouse reports that the campaign has 40 full-time organizers.

A couple dozen people had gathered in front of a McDonald's in midtown Manhattan well before light, chanting—"McDonald's, escucha, estamos en la lucha"—and holding signs—"strike for higher pay for a stronger New York," "stop retaliation against worker organizing." Striking worker Raymond Lopez said he counted at least seven of his coworkers in the crowd and expected more to arrive.

Lopez earns $8.75 an hour as a shift manager (not a supervisory position) and works another job, allowing him to get by without public assistance, but said that many of his coworkers who make the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or only slightly more rely on food stamps or other government programs. He thinks, reasonably enough, that's not right. "I saw a sign once that said 'when the people at the bottom move, the people at the top fall.' I don't mean that to sound threatening or anything, but they're up there getting rich on our work. McDonald's can afford to pay us enough to survive."

While a minority of New York City's fast food workers are striking, doing so is a major act of courage in the face of likely retaliation:

Jose Cerillo, a 79-year-old who cleans tables and floors at a New York McDonald’s, told Salon he was suspended by the company on Monday after signing up co-workers on the campaign petition. According to Cerillo, management said the punishment was for violating a “no solicitation” policy. "They feel threatened because I’m organizing," said Cerillo (he was interviewed in Spanish). He said he circulated the petition during break times and outside of work.

Cerillo said he got involved after receiving a phone call from an organizer at home a few months ago. "I was so happy," he said. Cerillo, who has been working at a series of McDonald’s locations since 1996, said he makes $7.40 an hour, 15 cents above minimum wage. "It’s just not enough to live."

It's especially not enough to live in a city as expensive as New York City.

The workers are seeking to form an independent union, the Fast Food Workers Committee, Josh Eidelson reports; the organizing drive is backed by community organizing groups like New York Communities for Change as well as the SEIU.

Striking fast food workers and supporters rally in front of a midtown Manhattan McDonald's. Early morning, November 29, 2012.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:25 AM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thank You! (19+ / 0-)

      Our grandparents & great grandparents who fought the good union fight starting in the 1930s would be proud. I have said for quite some time that the fight for workers rights will have to be fought all over again. The repub control of the last 31 years has destroyed much of workers rights. Now that is is getting so bad to stomach, folks are willing to take it to the streets.  Go for it!  Thank you.

      •  Hear! Hear! (10+ / 0-)

        My grandfather was a Teamster in 1905. I've been seeing more union activity and union talk that I have in a long, long time. It's so good to see. I know which side I'm on.

      •  You are spot on with... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, bunsk, la58

        The statement that Republican Control of the last 31 years has destroyed workers rights. In fact I say it has been going on much longer placing the actual date to the Reagan Presidency, but I'll use your date rather than argue the fine points....

        The Right Wingers like to believe that the "1%er Job Creators" are benevolent job providers, while neglecting to see that the 1% desire to be Jay Gould...

        The relationship between an employer and the worker is complex, and in the end, absolute power on either side is self destructing...

        With the destruction of workers rights that have occurred in the last 31 years the situation has approached a tipping point where continuing in that direction is destructive and unsustainable.

        In discussions with many conservative small business owners they commonly use the argument that unskilled workers are getting paid what they deserve and that additional pay or, benefits would place an undue hardship on the employer, raising the cost of doing business and causing prices to increase beyond what the market will bear. Even more so when they bring in the fact that these workers are only "Part Time" workers and that the workers should get full time jobs...

        But the cold cruel fact is these companies running the fast food restaurants, and retail establishments such as Walmart are purposely creating part time positions in what should be full time jobs to avoid paying a fair wage and provide benefits to their employees!

        When and employer is open more than 40 hours a week, schedules workers to work any time between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday - Friday or, has an unpredictable work schedule that varies week to week, that employer is preventing the worker from securing full time employment, and should have full time workers.

        The argument of skill level vs. amount paid is a moot point! If the employer has work that needs to be done at a minimum the wages paid should be sufficient to allow the employee to afford to live within reasonable commuting distance of where the work is to be performed.

        Anything less is just the employer taking advantage of the situation allowed by the weak jobs situation created by the present imbalance of workers rights, Sadly this has evolved into a situation where taxpayers are subsidizing the Employee Benefits Package of these Parasitic Companies in the form of Earned Income Credit, Food Stamps (SNAP), Medicaid and State Sponsored Health Benefits, Housing Subsidies, and other programs for low income individuals and families...

        If anything the conservative small business owners that I was arguing with should have been resentful of the fact that they were pay taxes, which were used to support the parasitic business model of someone else. I.E. The Walton Family...

        If the market will not bear the true cost of these companies doing business without the use of artificially low wages and benefits causing taxpayers to pick up the slack they they should be out of business. However, Given the "Obscene Profits" these businesses are generating lets call it what it really is, 'Unfettered Greed!"

        Instead these Conservative Small Business Owners shoot themselves in the foot and bestow praise on the offending 1%, admiring their hard work, and business skills, which built their business to the unbelievable success it is today.

        Hopefully we can get this turned around before Monsanto engineers a flour shortage with its Round Up Ready Wheat and we follow the example of the French when they tell us to eat cake...

        Okay... Rant Over... LOL

        "Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House." ~John F. Kennedy~

        by Oldestsonofasailor on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:16:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  OFFTOPIC: Tip Redistributionism. (0+ / 0-)

      I want to be able to take tip points from my two-sentence statements of the obvious (that are, by accident, in highly visible locations) and apply them to my multi-paragraph diatribes that I spend forty-five minutes composing and that no one subsequently reads. It would make me feel better. ;)

      Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

      by eataTREE on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:16:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fast food restaurants can't offer decent wages (0+ / 0-)

      in the U.S. because the profits are needed to open stores in Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Nepal.....

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:22:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the quote: (23+ / 0-)

    "McDonald's can afford to pay us enough to survive."

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:32:46 AM PST

    •  Overheard (6+ / 0-)

      These jobs were not meant to pay a living wage. They are what they are.   So what should these folks do, MickeyD?

      •  Raise the Federal Min Wage, (10+ / 0-)

        because basically we are subsidizing MickeyDs by paying their employees in food stamps.

        Hell, McDonald's has so much economic buying power, the least they could do is provide groceries to their workers who make below a living wage.

        •  Santa Fe, NM has Living Wage ordinance, should (4+ / 0-)

          be a model...

          Living Wage
          What is the Living Wage
          The term Living Wage refers to the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve some specific standard of living.

          Santa Fe's Living Wage
          The City of Santa Fe Living Wage Ordinance was adopted to establish minimum hourly wage rates.

          Effective March 1, 2012 all employers are required to pay employees an hourly wage of $10.29.  This includes part-time and temporary employees.

          The March 1, 2012 Living Wage increase is in accordance with City Ordinance and corresponds to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Western Region for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.  All employers required to have a business license or registration from the City must pay at least the adjusted 2012 Living Wage to employees for all hours worked within the Santa Fe city limits.

          Who is affected?

              The city of Santa Fe shall pay the minimum wage to all full-time permanent workers employed by the city.
              Contractors for the city that have a contract requiring the performance of a service including construction services but excluding purchases of goods, shall pay the minimum wage to their workers and subcontractors performing work under the contract if the total contract amount with the city is, or by way of amendment becomes, equal to or greater than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.).
              Businesses receiving assistance relating to economic development in the form of grants, subsidies, loan guarantees or industrial revenue bonds in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.) to those employed by such entity for the duration of the city grant or subsidy shall pay the minimum wage to their workers for all hours worked within the city of Santa Fe.
              Businesses required to have a business license or business registration from the city of Santa Fe and nonprofit organizations shall pay the minimum wage to their workers for all hours worked within the city of Santa Fe that month.

          Additional Information

          For more information, you can download the following documents or contact Constituent Services
          by email at Constituent Services, or by phone at (505) 955-6949.

           

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:27:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Times have changed that have made (9+ / 0-)

        these jobs go from after school and weekend jobs for teens to jobs for people with families.  You rarely see teens doing working in fast food these days.  Many good paying manufacturing, labor intensive, and entry level jobs do not exist anymore.  The USA has become more "service" oriented and these jobs can not be outsourced easily.  We need to raise minimum wage to a living wage where you don't need to get public assistance because all of us are paying for it and these companies get refunds instead of paying taxes.  

    •  Boycotts by the public would help too, (10+ / 0-)

      as long as the McD's honchos understood that's why the boycotts were being staged.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:49:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So can the Walton's and every other retail Titan. (8+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately they still own the Republican Party and the Republican Party still holds the House. Question is "how much damage can they do until our next opportunity in 2014?". Put pressure on your Reps folks...ESPECIALLY the "safe" Republican seats!! Call, email, visit...Americans need to put constant pressure on these industry hacks so they are hyper aware that we are watching.

      •  Alan Grayson plans to go after Walmart yah!!!!! (9+ / 0-)
        Grayson: Walmart is ‘the largest recipient of public aid in the country’

        http://www.rawstory.com/...

        Representative-elect Alan Grayson (D-FL) said Monday that he will put mega-retailer Walmart squarely in his sights during the next Congress for the company’s liberal use of public assistance programs to supplement their workers’ wages.

        Speaking to Current TV host Cenk Uygur on Monday’s episode of “The Young Turks,” Grayson called Walmart “the largest recipient of public aid in the country,” saying their low wages force workers to take food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid just to get by.

        “The taxpayer pays for the earned income credit,” he said. “The taxpayer pays for Medicaid. The taxpayer pays for unemployment insurance when they cut hours down. And the taxpayer pays for other forms of public assistance like food stamps. I think the taxpayer is getting fed up of paying these things when, in fact, Walmart could give every employee its got, even the CEO, a 30 percent raise and still be profitable.”

        He added that while the health care mandate in the Affordable Care Act will help, “that’s just the start.”

        “In state after state after state, Walmart employees represent the largest group of Medicaid recipients, the largest group of food stamp recipients, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to bear that burden,” Grayson said. “It should be Walmart. So, we’re going to take that burden and put it where it belongs: on Walmart.”

        Raw Story (http://s.tt/...)

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:30:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thw first part is equally important (6+ / 0-)
      they're up there getting rich on our work
      .

      More people need to hear that and understand that they are worthy of living wages. The reason the uppermanagement, shareholders, and owners of the businesses are getting rich is because the workers are doing the work - without the waitstaff, bussers, cooks, secretaries, cashiers, janitors, clerks, and other bottom level workers, there would be no income for the top level.

      If the workers must seek public assistance just to afford the basics of living, the fault lies entirely with the employers. If a business goes bankrupt, almost always it's the fault of management - blaming the workers is a red herring. Sometimes, it's the economy, but it's not the fault of the bottom level employees, who often take the biggest and hardest hits to help the company survive.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:18:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  when i was a kid (16+ / 0-)

    people that worked at mcdonalds were teenagers making some pocket money.  except for the managers etc.  the fact that these have become jobs that people use to fully support themselves and families with no change in payrates is unreal.  how do you live in NYC on 7.25 an hour?  unions are the only answer for this problem.  

    We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

    by jk2003 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:33:23 AM PST

    •  Because our economy (12+ / 0-)

      has become us selling each other cheap trinkets and shitty fast food. We don't actually make much of anything, they can have that done much cheaper overseas.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:40:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      McDonald's type jobs should continue to be for teenager spending cash and managers/franchisees.  The adults should be performing real middle class wage work in real production or service jobs.  The wealth accumulation of the top 1% has taken so much cash out of our economy and the off shoring of manual labor manufacturing is the root of most of our economic problems right now.  Although, given that's not going to change, the resurgent voice of unified labor is a needed tactic but not the only front to be fighting.

      The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

      by Memory Corrupted on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:57:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree (9+ / 0-)

        I don't see how "manual labor manufacturing" is any more of a "real job" than working at a cheap restaurant, manufacturing meals and feeding people day in and day out. I rarely eat at any fast food place for several reasons, but I know that when I do, I like to place my order and exchange money with and get my meal prepared by people who care, are intelligent, and do a good job. I don't think these should be considered throw-away jobs for kids who don't need to earn a living wage.

        I was once invited to a wedding that was held at the home of the owners of several local McD's franchises -- their son was the groom -- and at first I wondered why a home wedding... until I saw their "House" which was more of a mansion than any resort hotel... stunning, ridiculous amounts of money had been spent to create a total hawaiian theme landscape and party, including installing an entire pool/waterfall system throughout the huge back yard... it was quite unbelievable to me, how much freaking money these people had. They owned I think four McD's.

        The people who work in their restaurants make jack shit. They work, they stand on their feet, work with the public (fast food consuming public no less, and if you think that's easy you'ver never done it) and they handle our money and  our food. The work should be respected, and paid fairly. And these owners CAN afford to pay the staff a living wage. The disparity is wrong.

        •  CS in AZ, first, let's target the power brokers by (0+ / 0-)

          state.  I'm a Dean, 50 states, soon to become 51 with Puerto Rico, believer in moving beyond party divisions.

          Senator McCain needs a lesson in reality.

          Throw Down the Gauntlet

          This is snark, sorta, take it with a grain of salt.

          Senator McCain, you remind me of my father; damaged goods, soldiers who faced death, and worse, is no excuse.  I’ve given the Senator many years of respect for his service.  It’s become obvious he does not recognize the appreciation, tolerance, and forgiveness for his bellicose behavior.

          OK, Senator McCain, you want war, let’s have a war.  Not a war in Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt , Russia, China or other phantoms of your mind; let’s talk about your prospects to retain influence in the classic, noble, Roman ideal of a powerful Senator.

          Senator McCain, your challenger will be a bat shit, crazy, libertarian in the primary.  He
          (no women allowed) will be funded by Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers. The least among your enemies is Joe Arpaio.

        •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

          Fast Food jobs require near zero training, near zero education, near zero experience.  Manufacturing jobs require training, require education with an ability for ongoing learning, and the more experienced you are the more valuable you can be.  That's the difference.
          There's no disrespect meant to those people who in this economic structure are only able to find employment in this sector but there is little to drive an owner to look for people with qualifications for such jobs.  Saying that, and reitterating what might not have been clear, my issue is with the economic system we have that forces lower wage earners to undercompete each other and forces those same people to save themselves by organization instead.  I think the goal of society should be the maximum achievement based on ability and limited only by motivation and attitude rather than by the rules set by the top 1%.  If you want to spend your life working in Fast food, then fine.  And yes, a living wage, healthcare, food and shelter should be mandatory for all (as in, raise the minimum wage for a start).
          Anyway, a very complex issue to discuss in a thread like this but my first job was a BK schlub.  My second was cleaning the insides of commercial ovens.  Both sucked, now I are an engineer and work bekons.

          The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

          by Memory Corrupted on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:24:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not 100% true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy

            Certain types of skilled manufacturing certainly do. However as Foxconn shows us you can assemble hi-tech devices with a relatively cheap unskilled labor force with minimum training.

            Moreso once we get better Industrial robots and 3D printers. Eventually manufacturing will be 100% automated except for a niche market of handmade goods (just like we still have film buffs in the age of digital cameras) and for manufacturing state of the art prototypes prior to mass production.

            So to say that Manufacturing is significantly different than fast food work is a tad disingenuous. SOME manufacturing certainly is, but not all and the current trends are going to shrink that pool of work more and more over time. So it'd be more accurate to say that manufacturing is certainly headed for that same place regardless.

            Either way, the point of unionization is to prevent employers from exploiting the power balance they hold over their workers and using it to pursue socially destructive and otherwise exploitative behavior. When Walmart pays its workers so little they need food stamps just to eat that is socially destructive and costs us all money for instance. It makes both good moral AND economic sense to use organization to change the power balance in favor of walmart workers from management so that this can be rectified. Even if their workers don't have to pay for four years of school or know grep from grok.

      •  disagree (4+ / 0-)

        all labor should make a decent living wage, even if the people working at a given job are teenagers, women, nonwhites, retirees, or any other demographic that americans are accustomed to underpaying. work is work.

        •  Agree 100%. But we need to remember that (0+ / 0-)

          the less qualifications a position requires and the more available labor there is only price supports, in the form of minimum wages or income from the government directly, will ensure that wages are "decent living".  Why would an employer pay more than he needed to?  Only a few progressives do that.

          The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

          by Memory Corrupted on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:48:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  unionization also helps that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy

            the logic of the free market pricing the cost of labor inexorably leads to slavery. employers who would pay their employees poverty wages are not decent human beings, in my opinion. the handwaving about the market is just an excuse for a lack of common decency.

            •  Reality is not always pretty. (0+ / 0-)

              People are not always decent.  
              Unions help, but I see them more as a critical tactic for our overall problems, which require a more culturally focused strategy.

              The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

              by Memory Corrupted on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:03:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Workers of all stripes are uniting. The Masters (12+ / 0-)

    of the Universe should rightly be getting uneasy. Good.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:33:58 AM PST

    •  i have encouraged my assistants (10+ / 0-)

      at a certain veterinary clinic to organize with other clinics to regularize pay/hours/duties along the lines of nurses,etc.  since that is exactly their job and the hours and work is physically and emotionally taxing.  not to mention the possibility of exposure to infectious disease.  unions in veterinary clinics are sorely needed.  

      We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

      by jk2003 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:37:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Question (6+ / 0-)

        Are they afraid to organize?  Many folks are because cheap pay is better than no pay.

        •  not afraid (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          uninformed and many look at the job as a starting point not a career.  though most of my assistants have been there for years.  one is the daughter of a teabagging gun nut who thinks unions are the work of satan i am sure.  she is a great help though and great at her job.  incredibly compassionate with animals and so annoyed when owners do not have the ability to pay for health care for their pets (i have tried to help her connect the dots to healthcare for people but there is a sticking point in her brain).  

          We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

          by jk2003 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 10:04:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Its funny that you say that to me because (0+ / 0-)

        my wife and I own a veterinary hospital and have been encouraging all our employees to explore the benefits of collective bargaining for years! They tell us they don't need it because we take such good care of them but I like to tell them (as a former member of the UFCW) that unions benefit everybody in society- even the business owners who protest them!

        Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

        by hazzcon on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:21:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ha! - my husband is a UFCW member. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

          by jk2003 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 10:21:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I hope this is the beginning of a union ground- (13+ / 0-)

    swell, something that will sweep up millions of workers.  The Walmart thing may be catching on?  I'd like to think so.

  •  That's not enough pay (7+ / 0-)

    to live on in most places in the US, especially if you have a family. But in NYC? That's ridiculous. I don't doubt that there's a number of taxes coming out of that too...well, maybe not. They usually don't take taxes out of a paycheck that isn't enough to live on, just the basic FICA.

  •  There is an obvious Catch-22 here. (0+ / 0-)

    These people are the least employable in our society (which is why they have the lowest paying jobs). If the fast food industry were to raise wages to $11 an hour, and offer decent benefits, an entirely different class of worker would apply for those jobs, people with more education, etc. And the people now working there would no longer be able to compete for those jobs, and they'd have to find other $8 jobs. When you have a surplus of labor in a society, it is very tough on those at the bottom, no matter what you do.

    •  Oh? (8+ / 0-)

      So these other folks are simply not applying for work now? Interesting.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:45:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think somehow you are missing out on part (11+ / 0-)

      of what makes us Democrats.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:51:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's an employer's market, (4+ / 0-)

      that's for sure, and corporations are bound and determined to keep it that way.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:53:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Caedy works McDonalds (9+ / 0-)

      And she has a BA in Business, a BA in Medical Management, and most of a degree in Accounting she hasn't been able to afford to finish. She's worked at McDonalds for 6 years now. It was supposed to be something she did while she was working on her second BA. She hasn't been able to find anything in her field.

      She's had a lot of interviews, but nothing's panned out, there's always someone with more experience.
      I wouldn't consider her one of the 'least employable in our society'. I worked McDonalds for about 8 years. It was my fall back job when I couldn't find anything else. I had a nursing assistant certification, but McDonalds actually paid better than the opening positions as a CNA at the time because the nursing homes didn't want to pay for experience whereas McDonalds did.

      I certainly wouldn't consider myself one of the "least employable" at the time. When I was younger and didn't have the health issues I have now.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:00:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is not an insult. (0+ / 0-)

        If someone is working for the lowest wages around, at a job that requires no skills, by definition they are at the bottom of the employment chain. If they are not, who is?

        •  "Least employable" (5+ / 0-)

          sounds like an insult to me. She's not any less employable than anyone else with 2 BA's and hers aren't even 'liberal arts' degrees. Just because she's working at McDonald's doesn't make her less employable at a better job. What it means is, those better jobs aren't there right now, or at least not enough of them.
          What it means is, we need to create better jobs, and a better economy. Part of what is needed to do this is to have people with more money to spend. That means paying them enough to have money to spend. But the people working at McDonalds are not 'least employable'. They may be underpaid and overworked, but not least employable. Many of them have more drive, integrity, more skills and more devotion to a job well done than others I've known in management in other places. Denigrating them is NOT helpful.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:44:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If they cannot get a higher paid (0+ / 0-)

            gig, for whatever reasons, they are minimum wage workers. Minimum means minimum. You could have 6 degrees and still be an unskilled worker from employers' perspectives. Maybe it is true that today's least employable workers are still skilled. But if you are working for the minimum wage, and no one will give you a job for a higher wage, than you are a minimally-paid worker. By definition.

    •  I have worked in fast food, so I am not sure I (6+ / 0-)

      agree with your idea that these people are the least employable.  

      One thing I do remember, in the 70's and 80's, there was a gradual shift towards the bottom line mattering the most. So, the parent company would make more money from 10 stores with one less employee each, even if things didn't run so well at all 10 stores. Before that, there was more of an emphasis on getting the best service to customers at the local place.

      I don't know much about NY, but in rural areas and some midwestern cities there is a transportation issue. Often poor people don't have cars (cities and suburbs), there is no reliable public transportation and so the only jobs available are these kinds of jobs.

      The larger problem is health care. Employers won't give the workers a 40 hour work week because they don't want to pay benefits. So these people, if they do have families, are working 2 of these jobs, 30 hours a week at each place and probably also doubling up on housing.

    •  Even if that's true... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rosarugosa, sethtriggs, Mentatmark

      ...it strengthens the bargaining position of those "least employable" workers by upgrading the pay at the next higher step.

      And if there's a vast pool of unemployed people in the $11/hr range, they're empowered by having more jobs available.

      Additionally, in cold numerical terms, a million $11/hr jobs is better than a million $8/hr jobs even if the same people aren't holding them.

      •  Yep, that's true. If every fast food (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mentatmark

        job in NYC all of the sudden paid $11, workers in general would benefit. Just not the workers who are there now.

        •  That's a worst case scenario (0+ / 0-)

          If strikes always worked out that way, nobody would ever strike unless they were already at the highest skill/pay range for hourly workers.

          •  Strikes only work when labor (0+ / 0-)

            has leverage. If there are an endless number of people who can and will do your job, companies have no reason to cave in to a strike; just fire the workers and bring in new ones. That is why it is critical to have a job that requires skills, so employers can't replace you so easily.

            •  "Just fire the workers" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, fuzzyguy, misterwade

              Well, there was at least a time when firing striking workers was, you know, illegal. Maybe, just maybe, all those progressives at the Great Orange Satan can ask this allegedly pro-labor president that we all voted for to protect people's right to organize.

              "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

              by Lost Left Coaster on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:28:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Methinks you have it backwards (0+ / 0-)

      If the fast food (and other less desirable) jobs paid $11, then jobs currently paying more than minimum wage (presumably for higher quality workers) would have to bump the pay higher still to get those better workers. People living hand-to-mouth would have more money to spend, and the entire economy would benefit. Sure, costs would be ever so slightly higher, but would be more than outweighed by higher wages across the board.  

      I was stunned to hear that NYC workers were being paid minimum wage. How can that be? In such a high cost city?? In Anchorage, which is higher cost than most of the US but less expensive than NYC, the effective minimum wage is much higher than the legal minimum wage. This is necessary to account for the higher cost of living.  

  •  Seems a bit hypocritical of the Repubs (9+ / 0-)

    to constantly use NYC as an example of why we shouldn't raise taxes on those making as low as $250,000 by claiming that 250 thousand "really isn't that much in a city like NY" while ignoring the millions that live and work here for wages that are well below the poverty level. Actually they do worse than ignore them...they legislate the bidding of the millionaires that take obscene amounts of money while screwing their workers into the ground.

  •  How is it even sort of possible? (5+ / 0-)

    To live on $7.40 an hour in a place like New York City?

    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

    by Jaxpagan on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:48:51 AM PST

  •  Can't companies retaliate with impunity if a (0+ / 0-)

    worker is here illegally? Most fast food places here don't hire many US citizens, only to work the counter or drive through.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:49:04 AM PST

  •  I'm glad they are striking. I wish them success. (7+ / 0-)

    It is especially important to note the cost of living in places such as New York (as well as SF too).  Because of greed, a living wage is a mere pittance these days--especially when trying to find affordable housing.

    Gentrifying neighborhoods for hipsters outpriced the market for everyone else.  So while the hipsters try to live like bohemians, the folks who have to live paycheck to paycheck struggle every day not to be thrown out into the street due to sky-rocketing rent.

    The wrath of Sandy makes this strike even more important.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:49:59 AM PST

  •  How many fast-food workers are there in the City? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mentatmark

    My anti-Manhattan bias makes it hard for me to imagine a McDonald's plopped down in the middle of all those rich people.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:52:00 AM PST

  •  I had a boss once, a VP of operations, who (6+ / 0-)

    took great pride in saying he saved the company money by scratching a $0.01 - $0.02 reduction into every floor technicians raise for that quarter.  When you take into consideration that he was:
    - "saving" about $0.60 a week plus some O/T,  and
    - these were high tech staff at the $15-20/hour point

    For the 30 +/- highly educated, value adding and now pissed off techs he was saving on the order of $1000/year total for a $100M company!  This guy also used to walk around with a wad of money in his shirt breast pocket covered by a $100 (no idea what was under that but I would think it was more big bills).

    Point?  That rich self entitled asswipes think that no matter how much money they already have, other people should make as little as possible so they can make more.  Even when "more" is less than his pocket change.  The battle for a living wage continues for the middle class.

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:52:20 AM PST

  •  God bless these courageous men and women. (10+ / 0-)

        One of the remaining jobs that can't be outsourced. Union.Yes.

    The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

    by Hillbilly Dem on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:53:40 AM PST

  •  Birds of a feather? (4+ / 0-)
    It's especially not enough to live in a city as expensive as New York City.
    Maybe the fast food workers will get the support of all those Wall Street "working stiffs" who can't get by in New York on several hundred thousand a year—not!


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

    by KingBolete on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:57:27 AM PST

  •  Walmart Workers, Warehouse Workers, & (6+ / 0-)

    now, Fast-Food Workers!!!!!

    Something incredible is happening.

    Fast Food Forward on Twitter:
    https://twitter.com/...
    also #fastfoodfwd
    please follow!

    Fast Food Forward: sign the petition!
    http://www.fastfoodforward.org/...

    Fast Food Forward on  Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/...

    Fast Food Forward, website:
    http://www.fastfoodforward.org/

    Fast Food Forward on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Voting Rights Martyrs

    by JayRaye on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:00:29 AM PST

  •  $24/hour (8+ / 0-)

    According to Universal Living Wage, the living wage in the New York Metropolitan Area is about $24/hour. Unfortunately, these companies have a long way to go to get their workers off public assistance.

    If Republicans want to cut "entitlements", the easiest way to do that is to raise the minimum wage so that it reflects what it takes to live on. Then people won't need public assistance and the amount the government spends to help the poor will decline. There is a very simple tradeoff between paying people adequately and government spending.

    We need to make that clear in the budget battle: If you want spending cuts then do it the legitimate way, by increasing the minimum wage.

  •  My sister works at McD's (7+ / 0-)

    She's mostly full-time, and she makes probably a buck over whatever minimum wage is in North Carolina. Even so, she lives in subsidized housing, because that money won't cover the cost of an apartment. So McDonald's, or at least the franchise owner, is offloading some of his cost of labor onto the taxpayer. We're subsidizing him.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:02:45 AM PST

  •  Straighten me out on labor law here. (5+ / 0-)
    Jose Cerillo, a 79-year-old who cleans tables and floors at a New York McDonald’s, told Salon he was suspended by the company on Monday after signing up co-workers on the campaign petition. According to Cerillo, management said the punishment was for violating a “no solicitation” policy.
    Isn't that protected activity even if he was doing it at work?
  •  Jesus I love the city of my birt! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mentatmark
  •  We're better than this. (6+ / 0-)

    According to the article, Mr. Cerillo has been employed by McDonald's for over 15 years, yet he is paid only 15 cents over minimum wage.  Enough said.

  •  Curmudgeonly remark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mentatmark

    ...a one-day strike against many of the biggest fast food chains, including McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell, Domino's, Papa John's.

    Lengthening the average New Yorker's life by about six months.

  •  how many regular people even know how common it is (4+ / 0-)

    to work full-time AND still require government assistance to survive.
    That is information that is missing in the discussion of average Americans about labor issues.

  •  Wages (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, fuzzyguy

    It is a shame that a full time job at McDonald's can not provide you with the basic needs such as rent, food, car, clothing...

  •  Low wage workers are fighting back... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, FloridaSNMOM, wu ming

    ...against some of the most powerful corporations in the food industry, an industry that has exploitation written all over it: exploitation of the earth, exploitation of animals and exploitation of people.

    The odds are against them of course, but the odds were against the industrial workers who built the CIO and the odds were against the public sector workers of the 1960's and 1970's who built unions like the AFT and AFSCME.

    These workers need our support. Last Saturday there was a noisy demonstration in Chicago against exploitation of downtown restaurant and retail workers.

    We have a movement. Let's keep it going.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:14:06 AM PST

  •  Great diary, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:40:27 AM PST

  •  you really want to help (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    the economy, bring back unions at all levels and you will be giving the 99% more money to spend and spend they will, no off shore accounts for the real patriots in america, those are for the anti american 1%.

  •  Shame (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, swampyankee, Kristina40

    a 79 year old, wiping tables and washing floors for 18 years, making $7.40/hr??

    Corporate America repeatedly demonstrates, over and over, the need to be regulated.  They cannot be trusted to do the right thing.  The only reason this guy makes more than he did in 1996 is because of the few raises in the minimum wage.

    They will pay people $0.50/hr.  They will hire 10 year olds.  They will make people work 12 hour days, seven days a week, if the law lets them.

    They deserve no more of our trust.  Finished.  You can't pay people right on your own?  You can't treat your employees with the respect and dignity they deserve without some kind of law telling you to?  Well tough shit - you will be told what to do and how to act.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 10:18:19 AM PST

  •  A living wage (0+ / 0-)

    There must be a standard that is set, that takes into consideration the cost of living in the community in which the work is done. There should be no set number for the nation. This way the worker will be paid a fair wage for the work done in the community in which they live. The McDonalds and Walmarts of this nation must not be allowed to treat their employees the way they do. The labor laws in the states and communities that they are located should be enforced. An if they do not, stop walking in their doors.

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