News & Commentary

November 10, 2014

This post is part of an ongoing of series on the fast food organizing movement. You can read all our Fast Food News here.

Bloomberg Law has details on an upcoming overseas trip that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has planned for American fast food workers. Beginning today, November 10th, six workers from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will travel in pairs to eight countries – Denmark, Scotland, England, France, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the Philippines – so that the American workers can learn from their international counterparts about potential strategies to continue to grow the global fast food worker movement. The trip is in partnership with the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), a federation of 396 trade unions in 126 countries that has also coordinated protests against major fast-food employers in 33 countries.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that a vote on a potential minimum wage increase in June 2016 may be retroactive to January 2015, giving employees roughly 18 months in back pay. Due to a successful referendum drive in September, the city council was forced to delay the implementation of a legislative wage increase until the public could vote, but the next general election isn’t until June 2016. If approved, the wage hike could arguably be traced back to January 2015, as that is the date specified in the legislation passed this summer, rather than the June 2016 referendum implementation date of January 2017. While the San Diego City Attorney looks at this matter of statutory interpretation, both the San Diego Small Business Coalition, which opposes to wage hike, and Raise Up San Diego, the leading group in support, have said they would not support a retroactive wage hike. If passed, the wage would be increased to $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017, with further increases indexed to inflation each year.

McDonald’s reported a 0.5% decline in worldwide sales this month, beating estimates of a 2.2% drop, according to Fortune. However, the results are still far worse than one year ago, when the company reported growth in the United States and Europe. McDonald’s continues to face competition from competitors such as Chipotle, but also by the fact that low-income consumers, a group of workers that tend to spend more of their income at fast-food chains, continue to see minimal wage growth across the board.

While the first Friday of every month has become “jobs day” since the start of the Great Recession, the Wall Street Journal argues for a new name: “wage day.” The rational is that the country has begun to shift its focus from employment generally to what Americans actually earn on the job. This is due to wage stagnation, as the private sector has added 10.3 million jobs over the course of 55 straight months, but wages have experienced little to no growth throughout the recovery. With wages as a major issue confronting the economy, there are signs of potential improvement in the form of a continued decline in short-term unemployment. According to economists, a shortage in the supply of workers seeking jobs should, at least in theory, begin to push up wages. As for “jobs day” itself, the bulk of jobs continued to be added in low wage areas according to the Wall Street Journal. Specifically food services added roughly 42,000 jobs, well above the 26,000 average of the past year.

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