Today’s Labor Heroes Are Working Today

Unless there’s some breaking news (like this AT&T story, which I’ll get to tomorrow), I’m going to take a break from surveillance and Syria war posts today. The day is supposed to pay tribute to the great contribution organized labor has made to this country.

But I couldn’t help but think that, while many Americans have a day off thanks to fights waged in the past (fights those Americans often forget), some of today’s most important labor heroes will be at work today.

Just about the bravest, most exciting labor fight being waged today is the slowly growing series of protests by fast food workers — with strikes in 60 cities last week — who are demanding the right to organize and calling for a $15 hour wage. The fight is more than just a battle for wages, it’s a battle for the principle that a job should provide a livable wage, and a battle for the principle that even laborers spread out across the country, potentially at franchises owned by small businessmen, should have some representation.

But today, many of these poorly paid workers will be at work, providing Americans a quick bite to eat as they head off to have their fun.

As you’re enjoying your day, take note of all the fast food restaurants that are open today and remember how many don’t even benefit from the battles won in the past.

Update: Fixed my spelling error, thanks to RTL.

9 replies
  1. justbetty says:

    Good point, but it is more than just fast food restaurants- nearly all restaurants pay their staff poorly. Not being part of a large network it is even harder for many in independently owned places to get any relief. I hope the action by the fast food workers can spread to all these underpaid and hard-working folks.

  2. Ben Franklin says:

    Collective bargaining has been in decline for 3-4 decades, and I think it’s time for a resurrection, or at least a bootstrap.

  3. prostratedragon says:

    So many of the other ills that are regularly examined here are likely to have their origin in the determination of Them That’s Got to wipe out the gains that labor achieved down to about 1970.

    Because that objective requires total domination.

    Throw much “offshoring,” (i.e. including domestic) onto that pile and a girl could start to get ideas.

  4. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    People should be able to earn a living if they are working, but, what wage will permit that is open for debate.

    And wage increases will also likely result in inflation.

    BUT, the topic I really want to raise is tipping. It seems to me that it is a serious issue in this wage debate. I suspect if tipping was stopped (maybe by law) that employers would be unable to find employees for a vast set of lowly paid jobs. And true wage negotiations would take place. Does tipping undermine workers ability to negotiate a decent wage? I think it does.

    Would the whole wage issue come to a head overnight if people stopped tipping? I think it might. So, if you want to support lowly paid workers, how about a ‘national tipping strike’ in support of their efforts.

    Or am I being contentious. :-)

  5. ImaPT says:

    @Emptywheel – I think the two most interesting bullets in the AT&T Hemisphere Powerpoint presentation are on page 13:

    – Started offering mapping through the GeoTime software in July 2012
    – Introduced limited pinging for some phones in May 2013

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