News & Commentary

December 1, 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.

According to Bloomberg, fast food workers have announced that they will walk off the job at restaurants in 160 cities on Dec. 4. This Thursday’s strike is expected to be the largest since the movement began roughly two years ago, and are just the latest salvo in the worker’s attempt to pressure fast food chains to pay employees $15 an hour and allow for unionization. According to Al Jazeera America, there are currently no sanctioned plans for civil disobedience in this latest round of strikes. This stands in stark contrast to the most recent strikes of this past September, where nearly 500 workers were arrested during that strike for activities such as obstructing traffic. McDonald’s, a key target of the protesters, has responded to this news with a statement asserting that the company does not view this latest action as a “strike.” Instead, according to a company spokesperson, McDonald’s believes Thursday’s protests are “organized rallies for which demonstrators are transported to various locations, and are often paid for their participation.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago aldermen could vote this week on a new measure from city mayor Rahm Emanuel raising the minimum wage, but the proposal will increase the wage at a slower rate than previously proposed. According to the Tribune, the increase to $13 dollars would be delayed until 2019, rather than the initially reporter 2018.

While Chicago contemplates it’s own minimum wage increase, the Associated Press reports that Illinois state lawmakers will consider their own minimum wage increase during a three-day session beginning this Tuesday. Such an increase has been a key topic in the statehouse in the wake of a Nov. 4 advisory referendum that showed 66 percent of voters statewide favoring an increase from $8.25 to $10. The State Senate is currently considering an increase up to $11 an hour by 2017, but it’s face is uncertain in the General Assembly. To pass this increase, some believe that the state legislators in the General Assembly may include a preemption clause that would prohibit Chicago from raising its wage to a level higher than the statewide minimum.

Bloomberg Law reports that 61 percent of the civilian labor force in 2015 will live in a state with a higher floor pay than the federal level of $7.25 per hour. This is a higher percentage of workers than at any point since the passage of the latest federal minimum wage increase in 2007. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, 29 states plus the District of Columbia will have a minimum wage higher than $7.25, ranging from $7.50 to $9.50, with 11 states having a minimum a full dollar higher than the federal rate.

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