Yesterday, December 4, 2014, saw thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters descend on almost 200 cities in the United States to make a stand for a minimum wage of $15 along with other labor rights. For those of you who don’t remember, labor rights are what we used to have to protect us from exploitation before Corporate America purchased the US government and employed mass media outlets – like the ultra rightwing Fox (Not) News – to convince folk that expecting respect and a fair wage in exchange for your work was an unconscionable insult to free market capitalism and a terrible existential threat to the American Dream.
Guess what? It’s pretty hard to have that dream if you can’t afford a place for you and your family to sleep.
In Chicago, around 200 demonstrators began marching near the Rock ‘N’ Roll McDonald’s, chanting the rhythmical ‘We can’t survive/On $8.25.’
The protests were part of the Fight for 15 campaign and according to organizers were the largest yet. Strikes and walkouts were planned, targeting restaurants like Burger King and McDonalds, but also included industrial action from workers in airline industries and home care.
You’ll hear a lot of noise from the right-wing press of how all of these protests represent a danger to the social order. What they mean is that their rich bosses don’t like the idea that they may have to start accepting that they have a responsibility to the people they employ. Let them shout for a while. Their voices will eventually tire out and then we can get down to the business of dismantling the modern neoliberal model of economic slavery that refuses to see employees as people, as human beings, and channels all the wealth and profits to a tiny, underserving minority at the top.
Remember too, that while all the rest of us have had to deal with economic austerity, frozen wages, the threat of eviction or starvation, the 1% have miraculously got richer. One of the ways they’ve done that is by denying the labor force a living wage, enabling them to keep more of what, functionally, they no longer actually need more of.
Stop being jerks… and pay your workers.