Tag Archives: minimum wage hike

Around the country, fast-food workers to strike on Sept. 4

Fast-food workers in more than 150 cities — including Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau — will walk off their jobs on Sept. 4 as their movement to build a union and raise the minimum wage intensifies.

A day after President Barack Obama praised their campaign during a speech at LaborFest in Milwaukee, workers from Oakland, California, to Opelika, Alabama, said they will strike at the country’s major fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC.

Obama, addressing the Labor Day rally, said on Sept. 1, “All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity.”

Fast-food workers in Little Rock, Arkansas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Rochester, New York, are among those who will walk off their jobs for the first time, according to an announcement from organizers, who were still preparing a complete list of planned actions.

Fast-food workers in the St. Louis area will note strike onsite but instead will join workers on strike lines in New York City, Memphis, Nashville and Little Rock.

Fast-food workers from four continents are expected to travel to the U.S. to support strikers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Raleigh, according to a news release from strike organizers.

Home-health care workers are expected to join in the demonstration demanding higher pay and better benefits. In several cities, both non-union and union home care workers will join striking fast-food workers in the Fight for $15, a campaign for a higher minimum wage.

Organizers also say there will be civil disobedience actions that coincide with the strike activity, including in Wisconsin, where fast-food workers are preparing for the day with coordination from Wisconsin Jobs Now, which on its website is asking people to stand with underpaid workers, demand fair wages and share support on Twitter at #strikefastfood.

The fast-food workers’ campaign started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast-food workers walking off their jobs demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. 

Many fast-food workers do not make much more than $7.25 per hour, or about $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week.

The National Restaurant Association, an industry trade group, said in a statement to the AP that the fast-food protests are attempts by unions “to boost their dwindling membership.”

On the Web…

Support Wisconsin workers at http://action.wisconsinjobsnow.org/page/s/workersunited?source=wp.

Report: $10.10 minimum wage would boost 587,000 Wisconsin workers

Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016 would increase wages for more than half a million Wisconsin workers, according to a report released on Feb. 24 by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

COWS is a think-tank based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Raising the minimum wage puts money in workers pockets and establishes a stronger standard for minimal work. It also would provide a modest boost to the economy,” said Laura Dresser, COWS associate director, “In fact, the wage increases would boost economic activity by an estimated $517 million over the course of the increases. That growth would generate 3,800 jobs as businesses expand to meet the consumer demand.”

COWS estimated that 587,000 Wisconsin workers would see wages rise with the hike to $10.10.

Of those workers, the report said 57 percent would be women, 87 percent would be 20 years old or older, 47 percent would have at least some college education, 42 percent would work more than 35 hours per week and nearly two-thirds would be in families with income under than $60,000.

The report also addressed the claim that increasing the minimum wage would destroy jobs.

Studies have confirmed that minimum wage increases do not reduce overall employment levels, according to COWS. The group noted a recent letter signed by nearly 600 economists, including seven Nobel prize winners and eight past presidents of the American Economic Association, that said, “The weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.” 

“Increasing the minimum wage does not ‘kill jobs,” Dresser said. “In fact, higher wages tend to lead to higher productivity and lower turnover. Workers are simply less likely to quit a job that pays more, thereby reducing hiring and training costs. And employees are more likely to invest in improving their job skills when they see a decent future ahead for themselves.” 

COWS, in a news release, described itself as a think-and-do tank “that promotes ‘high road’ solutions to social problems.

Wisconsin Democrats in both chambers have offered bills to raise the minimum wage.

The president and Democrats of members of Congress also are making an increase in the minimum wage a cornerstone of politics in this midterm election year.

Mary Burke backs boosting minimum wage to $10.10

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said on Sunday that she would support raising Wisconsin’s minimum wage up to as much as $10.10 an hour, putting her at direct odds with Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Burke made the comments in an interview that aired on the Wisconsin newsmagazine show “UpFront with Mike Gousha.”

“I think increasing the minimum wage leads to people being able to support themselves and their families, and we can do it in a way that’s not going to hurt job creation,” Burke said.

The state’s minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.

Walker, a Republican, has spoken out against legislation that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage, calling the proposals “political grandstanding.” The bills are in committees in both chambers, which are controlled by Republicans.

Burke had earlier said she favored a smaller increase of about 35 cents an hour. But on Sunday she endorsed the Democrats plan to raise the minimum wage in three increments, up to $10.10 an hour in two years.

Burke said: “The research shows in states that have raised the minimum wage above the federal wage that it has absolutely no impact on unemployment rates.”