Posts Tagged ‘fast food’

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Fast-food workers are planning to go on strike this coming Thursday, with a nationwide walkout to protest low wages, poor healthcare, and employers’ attempts to block unionization.

The strike is the latest in a series of increasingly heated confrontations between fast food firms and their workers. Pressure is also mounting on McDonald’s, the largest fast food company, over its relations with its workers and franchisees.

Workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and other large chains will strike on Thursday and are planning protests outside stores nationwide, in states including California, Missouri, Wisconsin and New York.

The day of disruption is being coordinated by local coalitions and Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, union-backed pressure groups which have called for the raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour for the nation’s four million fast-food workers.

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture, even as the unemployment rate continued to fall, fully 14.5 percent of U.S. households (17.6 million, or 49 million people) suffered from food insecurity at some time during 2012, a figure that was essentially unchanged from 14.9 percent in 2011.The prevalence of food insecurity declined from 11.9 percent of households in 2004 to 11.0 percent in 2005 and remained near that level until 2007. In 2008, the prevalence of food insecurity increased to 14.6 percent of households and was essentially unchanged at that level through 2012 (14.5 percent).

According to a new report from Feeding America [pdf], which provides food for 15.5 million households (or 46.5 million people) nationwide,

  • More than 12 million households are forced to eat unhealthy food because they can’t afford better-quality groceries. They risk adverse health effects that can make their financial plight worse.
  • 66 percent of households said they’ve had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care. Thirty-one percent said they had to make that choice every month.
  • 69 percent of households that rely on food charities to survive have been forced to choose between paying for utilities and paying for food.

Put in terms any mainstream economist would understand: the supply of food-insecure households in the United States creates a high level of demand for federal programs like the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and for the 58,000 food programs associated with Feeding America.

And still it’s not enough.

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148560_600 May 17, 2014

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Yesterday, the fast-food strikes that have been spreading around the United States went global. Workers at restaurants like Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC walked off their jobs in 230 cities around the world to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Strikers protested in 150 US cities, from New York to Los Angeles, and in 80 foreign cities, from Casablanca to Tokyo to Brussels to Buenos Aires.

Currently, the median pay for fast-food workers is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than the Census Bureau’s poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

The “Fight for $15” campaign started in New York in November 2012, when 200 fast-food workers demanded $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation.

Union organizers say the movement has elevated the debate about inequality in the U.S. and helped raise the minimum wage in some states.

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