Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
"Fast food workers in at least 33 countries and 80 cities on six continents will join their U.S.-based counterparts, for an expected 230 strikes and protests worldwide, from Seoul to San Salvador, from Brussels to Bangkok, from Auckland to Casablanca. Early in the day, the campaign's website, FastFoodGlobal.org, showed photos of protesting workers in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Denmark and Bandung, Indonesia.
"U.S. workers are demanding $15 an hour -- about double the federal minimum wage -- in cities such as Oakland, New York City and Raleigh, with first-time protests in Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento. Targeted establishments include McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC.
"The coordinated protests were planned by an international labor federation comprised of 12 million workers across 126 countries. Called the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations, it met in New York last week to plan the protests.
"Earlier this month Seattle mayor Ed Murray set for a plan to gradually boost the city's minimum wage to $15 over three years for larger employers and seven years for smaller ones. It is widely expected to pass in coming weeks. Also, President Barack Obama has called for an increase in the federal minimum wage -- to $10.10.
"As fast food chains turned a deaf ear to protests and strikes, even as they expanded to 60 cities last year, organizers decided to internationalize their strategy. While in the U.S., labor unions have waning influence, those overseas have more power and can leverage it against multinational corporations that are drawing a greater source of revenue from abroad amidst weakening U.S. sales."
Labor unions in the US have been virtually forced out of existence. Perhaps pressure from their stronger counterparts overseas will have an effect on wage policies, but there is little hope that those measures will result in any measurable change here, where the middle class is headed the way of the dinosaur as fast food conglomerates rake in their supersized profits.
In response to the protests, The New York Times reported that McDonald's said its restaurants "offered competitive pay and benefits, with opportunities for advancement.... McDonald's also released a statement: 'This is an important discussion that needs to take into account the highly competitive nature of the industries that employ minimum-wage workers, as well as consumers and the thousands of small businesses which own and operate the vast majority of McDonald's restaurants.'"
An important discussion -- really? McDonalds will discuss their slave wages and labor practices that deny benefits to tens of thousands of its workers?
It was just last Fall that McDonalds posted a series of heartless "stress-reducing tips" for their underpaid workers on their corporate website. These included the ironic claim that they should schedule at least two vacations a year (on $7.25 an hour?), and if they didn't have enough food to eat, they should chew their food slowly to minimize their hunger pangs. Oh, and they also suggested they sell their Christmas gifts on ebay to help supplement their income. Maybe they could auction enough personal belongings or presents from their grandmas to take three vacations -- y'think?
The corporate website also suggested that the best way to reduce their stress levels was to quit complaining. So let's get this straight -- a happy worker will break up their food into little pieces so it appears they have more to eat, will sell their belongings to supplement their low wages, and won't complain about it. You want
fries food stamps with that?
Nope -- not too optimistic about any wage increase from the big smiling clown.