I choose to be (cautiously) optimistic. From Reuters, this evening:
Fast-food workers staged strikes at McDonald’s and Burger Kings and demonstrated at other stores in sixty U.S. cities on Thursday in their latest action in a nearly year-long campaign to raise wages in the service sector.
The strikes spread quickly across the country and have shut down restaurants in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Raleigh and Seattle, according to organizers….
“The workers are responding to total failure on behalf of the federal government to raise the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and the cost of living,” said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, an attorney at the National Employment Law Project, referring to the strikes.
The walkouts, coming before the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Monday, also took place in the Southern states of Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University who has published work on labor organizing and inequality, said the significance of protests in the South is “a huge, huge deal.”
“The South has always been the model for low wage employment, from slavery to the Jim Crow laws, to the present. It’s also the most anti-union part of the country, so the fact that workers feel empowered enough to take collective action is enormous,” Warren said.
And the Washington Post reports that the new Labor Secretary “praises fast food protesters, sees continued role as enforcer”:
The recent spate of fast-food worker strikes is another sign of the need to raise the minimum wage for all workers, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an interview with The Associated Press….
Besides supporting higher wages, Perez also plans to continue the work of his predecessor, Hilda Solis, in cracking down on companies that violate labor laws and making sure there’s a “level playing field” for employers who follow the rules.
While he declined to address fast-food workers’ demand to raise wages to $15 an hour, Perez said he is taking a lead role in President Barack Obama’s push to boost the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Obama has called for the wage hike in several recent speeches on the economy, but Congress has not acted….
Anybody want to comment on the situation in your area?