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A crowd of strikers and supporters gathers outside a Chicago Niketown store, April 24, 2013.
Hundreds of Chicago fast food and retail workers walked out for a one-day strike Wednesday, following similar one-day strikes among New York City fast food workers earlier in April and in November. As in New York, the Chicago workers are calling for a wage of $15 an hour rather than the near-minimum wages most of them make, and the right to join together in unions. The Illinois minimum wage is $8.25, a dollar higher than the federal minimum wage that applies in New York, but the stories the workers tell are similar. At an organizing meeting, Micah Uetricht reports:
An African-American man approaching what’s typically thought of as retirement age told of decades working in fast food and hovering near minimum wage, while a young Urban Outfitters worker said a raise would “make the difference between living and surviving.”

When explaining what a raise to $15 per hour would mean to her, Trish Kahle, a Whole Foods worker, stated simply, “I could have heat all winter.”

Dunkin Donuts worker Esly Hernandez, who is paid $8.25 an hour, told Ned Resnikoff that he's striking for his four-year-old son, both to set an example for him and to be able to afford medically recommended nutrition for the anemic child.

Wednesday's action in Chicago should be viewed not just in the context of the New York City fast food strikes, but of the wave of low-wage worker organizing over the past year more generally, as Josh Eidelson explains:

The strike wave’s spread to Chicago offers a hopeful sign for the New York City fast food campaign. While individual fast food stores are managed by franchisees, national CEOs are the real decision-makers in both fast food and retail. Given the financial cost and, more important, the risk of setting a precedent and emboldening a wider workforce, it’s hard to imagine executives for McDonald’s or Macy’s making any significant concessions to workers in any city unless faced with a bona fide national uprising. For that to happen, the strikes would have to go viral, big-time.

The strikes aren’t spreading by accident. November New York fast food strikers told Salon that they drew inspiration from workers who walked out of Wal-Mart stores, who in turn cited the example of their Wal-Mart warehouse counterparts. Interviewed while on strike April 4, New York fast food workers said that November’s smaller walkout had made that day’s work stoppage possible. “I was waiting” during the first strike, said Brooklyn Burger King worker Christelle Lumen. “I wanted to know, would they be OK with it? Would they fire the people that went on strike?”

According to the Fight for 15 campaign, a Subway, a Sally's Beauty Supply, and a Land's End were shut down by the strike and a march of and in support of the strikers stretched for two city blocks.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Invisible People, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  if (20+ / 0-)

    nothing else, it is a voice and hopefully one that continues to spread across the country. Most every job is important and people at the top need to realize this. The CEO's and the like, could not do their job if the people under them don't do theirs. How hard is that to understand?

  •  It would be nice if the Democrats could (17+ / 0-)

    actually side with the working class to wrest some of the money away from the oligarchy. This is the first article or diary that I've seen posted on this site today about money and the economy. Is it because we're bored with the subject? Is it because we don't know what to do? Is it because we know what has to be done, but we're afraid of the consequences?

    Why is everything about the "nice" causes now? Gays, guns and religion. I've got nothing against arguing those points. But until the Democrats get the working class totally back on their side, nothing is going to change.

    The super-rich took a big chunk of our money. And they ain't giving it back. They're telling us that we have to grow our way out of it on our own. They could restore the whole working class of this country and still be rich. But they won't. And they'll fight. They will fire people. Hell, they'll kill people if they think it's necessary.

    Or we could just continue to make fun of the working class, keep pointing out how stupid they are. You know, the strategy that has worked so well in this country for the last two generations.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:51:27 AM PDT

    •  Yes, many "liberals" are closet social Darwinists. (8+ / 0-)

      As I have said before, give them their social issues and they will throw the lower-income working class under the bus. Not all liberals, of course, but enough so that your comment is pretty accurate.  This neeeds to change.

      "One of the greatest tragedies of man's long trek along the highway of history has been the limiting of neighborly concern to tribe, race, class or nation." Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by brae70 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends what you mean by liberals. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant

        By the way, social issues, like gay marriage and women's righst, or not being killed by gun violence, or anti-racism, matter a lot to people.  No doubt Marx tells you that "your truth" is the only one, but I doubt you will pursuade many.  

        I'm glad that there is some working class ocnsciousness among these folks, but attacking allies for an ego trip about how left you are just does the work of reactionaires.  

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:29:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One does not have to be a Marxist to believe (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gentle Giant, Adelante, brae70

          that what Brae said is true. There are "liberals" who love social equality but don't care much at all about economic inequality.

          For example: the Women Contractors who wanted me to join Women In the Trades, back when I was a member of IUOE Local 49. They needed some actual construction workers to legitimize their bourgeois feminist claims. Yeah, right. I basically told them to go fuck themselvesf. My union brothers were mostly a bunch of pigs, that's true. But they were my brother pigs and it is my job along with my union sisters to straighten them out. And I have to wonder how classless the feminism of WIT would have been had we ever gone on strike. These are complex questions. Not simple ones.

          If someone doesn't really care that you and your children are hungry, are they really an ally? If they don't care about how safe you are on the job as they profit off your labor, are they really your ally?

          They are only an ally if they care about both social and economic justice.

          WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

          by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:23:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You elevate class over gender. (0+ / 0-)

            Not everyone does.

            If someone doesn't really care that you and your children are hungry, are they really an ally?
            They can be if they vote for candidates or support policies that you want.  Sometimes people hate each other, but they work together.  

            As for this:

            They are only an ally if they care about both social and economic justice.
            You will have fewer allies.  People who fail your test will just walk away.  Will that make change?  

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:43:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I don't elevate class over gender. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adelante, brae70

              But I do my fighting for social equality from within the working class movement.

              Walk away? I'm still here fighting the good fight.

              Walking away from WIT certainly didn't mean walking away from anything important. They were a tiny group of millionaires. The 1%. There were still millions to ally with. If they wanted to ally with us, they could have supported our unions at any time. Esp on safety. We never had a year go by where members of our union local didn't die on the job. One year 5 of my 49er union brothers died on the job. And I'm supposed to be an ally of a woman contractor, just because she is a feminist? When she doesn't care whether or not we die on the job? That is just nonsense.

              You see I am talking about real life and death issues here. And the same with poverty, it is a real life and death issue.

              WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

              by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:55:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  PS social equality is hard to enjoy if you're dead (0+ / 0-)

                WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

                by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:42:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your issue is the only issue and all (0+ / 0-)

                  other issues pale.  I had this conversation yesterday with someone else about climate change.  If the planet dies we all die, so it 's the only issue that truly matters.  No doubt just like the environmental movement the working class movement has been very successful the last 30 years.  For these millionaire women,  your proletarian status had value and you could tell them to fuck off.  I certainly would not ask you to alyy with anyoje and I don 't see that group as very typical.  Outside the liberal /left or unions, proletarian status does not mean much.  I am fine with you choosing your allies.  We all do.  

                  Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                  by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:48:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yes, life and death issues tend to do that to (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    brae70

                    people

                    esp when some of the dead people were people you knew personally who died terrible deaths from unsafe working conditions while others got rich off their labor.

                    And anyway you are making an untrue assumption that I only care about one issue.

                    Remember that Martin Luther King brought the Civil Rights Movement, the Poor People's Campaign, the Peace Movement, and Labor Movement all together. And Unions were involved in that. For example, Viola Luizzo was the wife of a Teamster official. And King died supporting a labor strike.

                    I stand with my fellow workers because I love them, not for any kind of status.

                    I really expect better from you than this, Tom.

                    WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

                    by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:18:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And when my life was put at risk on the job (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      brae70

                      it was one of my union brothers who brot the job to a stop to force the contractor to get his idiot son off the fill. The idiot son gave me an order that nearly got me killed.

                      I didn't know anything about my union brother's politics. Didn't matter. It was the night shift and when he threw down his flash light the job stopped. This was one of the biggest jobs ever in Northern MN and there was a lot of money lost when the job stopped. And everything stopped because he was the guy directing traffic. He put his job on the line to do that and he had a family to support. He was in the Laborers union, not even my union, but that didn't matter to him. The other guys backed him up for what he did.

                      One guy (a 49er) had already died on that job and they figured one death was more than enuf.

                      You want to talk allies, that's what I call allies!

                      WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

                      by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:39:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  yes they are your allies. I think we are talking (0+ / 0-)

                        past each other.  take care.

                        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                        by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:35:35 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  If you don't like talking past people then perhaps (0+ / 0-)

                          you should start listening to them and stop putting words into their mouths.

                          Brae said nothing about Marx you put those words into his mouth instead of listening to what he had to say. Brae never even said he didn't care about social issues. He was saying that the working class matters. Hell, 90% of all citizens are working class, how can they not matter?

                          And I never said that I only care about one issue. Again you put those words into my mouth and then began debating against the very words you had stuck into my mouth.

                          You are the one turning off your own allies with insults.

                          WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

                          by JayRaye on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:50:32 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I tried to disengage nicely from a conversation (0+ / 0-)

                            that I felt was not going anywhere.  The response is an insult and you removing me as an "editor" of the Hellraising Journal.  That was funny.  You really showed me.  Expelled me!!!  

                            By the way, "listening" does not mean agreeing.  The need to expel me, though, says much.  It's not like I was invovled in that group.  You invited me and I joined.  Sop you have expelled me and I suppose I am officially not an "ally."  Maybe I will graduae to "class enemy" soon.  

                            Knock yoursel out in your response.  I'm done with this thread going nowhere.  I made the mistake of staying engged in it out of respect for you.  

                            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                            by TomP on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:09:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This was not a "nice" response: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            brae70
                            No doubt Marx tells you that "your truth" is the only one, but I doubt you will pursuade many.
                            It was belittleling and sarcastic.

                            Brae never said anything about Marx, you put words in his mouth, and you did it in a nasty way.

                            Anyone who responds to people that way is not looking for a real conversation, but only to put the other person down.

                            WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

                            by JayRaye on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:08:05 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry for not responding yeaterday (0+ / 0-)

                            but I had to leave for work.  You say I'm doing the work of reactionaries but actually those who call their allies Marxist are doing the work of reactionaries.  Nowhere did I say that social issues were unimportant, indeed I said the opposite in this post from weeks ago:

                            And let's not forget that as young people(3+ / 0-)
                            move up the economic ladder they become more conservative on economic issues.  This is what happened to many of the college-educated boomers.  Give them their social issues (and these ARE important) they seem to have no problem throwing their less-affluent allies under the bus

                            by brae70 on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 09:35:34 AM EDT

                            I've been to countless peace rallies and even wrote a song for marraige equality.  There's only so much one can do and still hold down a job.  Many people here "specialize" in one end of the game, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't care about other issues.

                            There many folks who, when they think of "working class" think of Archie Bunker and Larry the Cable Guy, or maybe Fred Sanford.  My point in agreeing with PowWowPollock is that instead of sneering at such people why not treat them as valued members of society?  I don't know what I said that was so bad as to touch off such a rant.

                            All of this being said I wouldn't have expelled you from the group.  We need to work together.

                            "One of the greatest tragedies of man's long trek along the highway of history has been the limiting of neighborly concern to tribe, race, class or nation." Martin Luther King, Jr.

                            by brae70 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:35:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Not Possible. If You're a Social Darwnist You Are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant, a2nite

        not a liberal, no matter which of our 2 conservative parties you belong to.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:33:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This confuses the issue. (7+ / 0-)
      But until the Democrats get the working class totally back on their side, nothing is going to change.
      Until the working class gets on its own side, nothing much is going to change.

      For far too long, sectors of the working class have sabotaged other workers na dthemselves.  Sometimes white works have levated their skin over class interests; sometimes it has been religion.  

      Getting Dems working class support really only matters oif working class people have some sort of nascent class consciousness.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:26:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two things need to occur simultaneously. (0+ / 0-)

      1) CLOSE THE BLOODY TAX LOOPHOLES THROUGH WHICH THE 1%  KEEP EJACULATING THEMSELVES THEIR WEALTH.

      2) FORCE MINIMUM WAGE, no exceptions.

      And one further would be nice -- UNIONS and access to them for ALL workers.

      Let joy pour forth with every genuine communication.

      by Adelante on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 01:39:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prosperity has been compared to a (6+ / 0-)

    "rising tide," but it's more like the locks in a canal. As the water level rises to raise the yachts of the 1%, the inner tubes of the 99% sink lower and lower. Everyone deserves a living wage!

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:51:32 AM PDT

  •  More grass-roots activism from the lower-income (5+ / 0-)

    part of the working class. although this petition asks for your cell phone number, I didn't gove one and it still worked.

    http://fightfor15.org/...

    "One of the greatest tragedies of man's long trek along the highway of history has been the limiting of neighborly concern to tribe, race, class or nation." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by brae70 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:56:03 AM PDT

  •  Glad to see this (8+ / 0-)

    It's ridiculous that single people working full time should have to collect food stamps.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:18:18 AM PDT

  •  Even Adam Smith believed in a "living wage" (7+ / 0-)
    Servants, labourers and workmen of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged.

    Adam Smith - Wealth of Nations

    "Tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged" means more than subsistence.

    The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:20:45 AM PDT

  •  Good to see. Justice for foodworkers!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Stude Dude, JayRaye

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:23:28 AM PDT

  •  The issue is if "living wage" shrinks hiring. (0+ / 0-)

    This is a huge issue. If we set aside the matter of inflating the value of low skill work, the fact is that a business can hire more people at $10 an hour than $15.

    The people with a job always want more wages. But the people who can't get a job at all could use $10 an hour over $0.

    Those of us that run small businesses know that at the end of day raising the minimum wage freezes all hiring and we cut hours and do more work with less people.

    The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

    by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:25:13 AM PDT

    •  Oh and also remember "living wage" increases price (0+ / 0-)

      Not only does the "living wage" contract that job market for the unemployed and lower the hours for the employed, but it also increases prices for the consumers of those goods which makes their checks worth less than they were.

      The way out of this type of problem is increase education so that people have high skill/high value work AND create a market where high skill/high value work is in high demand.

      Expansion in green energy (and energy in general) and a free internet with booming business are just two waves of the future where high skill and high value work would be needed.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:27:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All false dilemmas. (7+ / 0-)
        Not only does the "living wage" contract that job market for the unemployed and lower the hours for the employed, but it also increases prices for the consumers of those goods which makes their checks worth less than they were.
        Many of these companies could still make profits with the increased wages. Just smaller profits. Those that can't may need to raise prices some - but they'd face competition from those that could (hopefully - in a real free market).
         
        The way out of this type of problem is increase education so that people have high skill/high value work AND create a market where high skill/high value work is in high demand.
        I agree that creating a market that relies less on the service industry for a high percentage of jobs would be good for the country and that education can be improved but regardless, someone will always have the working class jobs. We need GOOD working class jobs, like we once had, with adequate benefits and pay. This IS possible. It has happened before.
         
        Expansion in green energy (and energy in general) and a free internet with booming business are just two waves of the future where high skill and high value work would be needed.
        Sure, but not everyone can work in those fields.
        •  There are many high-skilled highly-educated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berrieh

          people currently drawing unemployment. It does little good to educate people for better-paying jobs that don't exist.

          Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by Gentle Giant on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:31:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not an argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, I Lurked For Years

      that I'd expect  to see on a progressive website.

      •  We've got to have the open discussion. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant

        Blindly following any philosophy is dangerous. The idea that if we just raise wages for workers in low skill jobs everything will be fine and dandy is too good to be true.

        The reality is you are inflating the wage for low skill/low value jobs. I've worked those jobs. I now employ people in those jobs. They have value and they are needed. But you should be working those as you make yourself more marketable for other jobs.

        Education and economic expansion will do far more for low skill workers than simply artificially inflating their wages for the low skill work.

        The liberal position should be to help them become high skilled workers rather than just paying them like they were.

        The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

        by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:02:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wages have stagnated for years and have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berrieh, I Lurked For Years

          been out-stripped by rises in the cost of living. It wouldn't be "just raising wages for workers in low skill jobs". It would be paying the rate that was originally paid for the job, adjusted for the cost of living.

          Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by Gentle Giant on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:33:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  False dilemma. Or at least trumped up. (5+ / 0-)

      Oh, it sounds pertinent in theory but in reality:

      1. These are service industry jobs - most service industries can't just have "less" workers. Most businesses in general have trimmed down to that level today (offices too but service industry especially). Most workplaces have as few workers as they can already.

      2. Most businesses can maintain the same workforce at a higher (a proper living) wage and choose not to for profits and stockholders. There may be a FEW Mom and Pops impacted but for the majority of these jobs - in chains and such - the impact is overblown.

      •  Setting wage floors restricts hiring. (0+ / 0-)

        That is not controversial. As a business owner, if you tell me I have to pay every employee $15 an hour I will hire fewer employees.

        The service industry can and regularly does work under full capacity already. This is why you can go in a Wal-Mart built with 30 check out lines and never see even half of those running.

        Restaurants will overwork fewer employees rather than pay for more staff at an inflated rate.

        We have to remember that working a register is not worth $15 bucks an hour. If you inflate the wage I will just hire one person to do it instead of two or three. Maybe I'll make managers work the register to fill in gaps because they work salary already.

        And all small business are killed by raising the minimum wage. The large chains will simply pass the price on to the consumer which lowers the value of their checks.

        But if you like small business you must be skeptical of the minimum wage AND if you are worried about the purchase power of everyday consumers you also have to be skeptical of the minimum wage.

        The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

        by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:53:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berrieh, Hirodog, I Lurked For Years
          If you are worried about the purchase power of everyday consumers, you also have to be skeptical of the minimum wage
          ???

          Hardly.

          Pay them more and they will purchase more. Unlike the upper classes that can afford to hoard. Pay the middle and lower economic classes a living wage and they will use it primarily to buy essentials and will be able to budget for some discretionary spending.
          The middle class spreads its money around. The upper classes, not so much.

          Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by Gentle Giant on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:38:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not so (4+ / 0-)
          But if you like small business you must be skeptical of the minimum wage AND if you are worried about the purchase power of everyday consumers you also have to be skeptical of the minimum wage.
          If your a business owner, like I am, you should be a heck of a lot more worried about undermining your market through unsustainable models. If the minimum wage doesn't even offer bare sustainance levels, than the only markets that will see growth are those attached to bare sustainance. Consigning a third of the country to the point that participating in non-sustainance spending is impossible constricts markets and will put small businesses into bankrupcy a lot faster than the minimum wage.
        •  It is a fallacy and thus controversial to those (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hirodog, I Lurked For Years

          who like data and evidence to back up their claims.

          Some employers may choose to hire less if wages rise, sure, but the reality is that unemployment rates and higher wages have no real correlation due to a variety of factors. I forgot in my earlier post the fact that raising working class wages supports other wages rising and stronger purchasing power to further boost the economy.

          I am not skeptical of the minimum wage - and I like small business and care about everyday consumers. There is no evidence to support your claim is all; it's a commonly spouted fallacy to be sure.

          As to what "working a register is worth" - therein lies the real issue - the fact that most people suggest people who work in the backbone of our economy (not the world's greatest backbone, but it's becoming our largest industry sadly) - our working class service industry - are not "worth" a living wage. I disagree.

        •  "working a register is not worth $15 bucks an hour (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berrieh

          When you say this, what you're really saying is anyone who works  a register doesn't deserve health care, or a decent home, or any kind of discretionary spending.

          I understand that in a Free Market, those jobs aren't worth that much.  That's a bug, not a feature, and it needs to be fixed, not exalted.

          I understand your point about education, but at the end of the day we'll always need janitors, wait staff, and retail clerks, and if the market doesn't allow those folks enough to live on, it's broken.

          As for small business, yes, SOME are hit hard by raising the minimum wage, but by no means all.
          And Walmart could raise their wages by ten dollars an hour and still make a profit, they'll only pass on any increases if they think they can get away with it, not because they'll have to.

          I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

          by Russycle on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:15:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm pretty sure there... (0+ / 0-)

        ...is a lot of contraction that could occur in big chain fast food service business without reducing sales volume. Particularly at the front counter.

        The industry has not taken advantage effectively of the new reality of ubiquitous smartphones and a sharp increase in wages would almost certainly cause the industry to do so sooner rather than later. There's absolutely no reason (and a number of reasons NOT to) interact with a front counter worker to place your order.

        Many people initially (and some people forever - mostly older people, many of whom will not be customers in ten or twenty years anyway due to death or infirmity) will reject such "self ordering", but it won't take long for it to become very popular after people "make the first leap" or watch a friend do it. The first time one uses self serve checkout, for example, it's potentially a bit daunting -- but the second time is much less so and by the tenth time, it's routine. (I actually much prefer self checkout myself -- of course, I have little desire to chat with the checker about the kids and how good something I'm buying may taste -- I have friends that I do that with and I'd rather spend time with them).

        The choice for the consumer is "stand in line to place my order, risk an error in the order taking process, or forget to say 'no onions'" or "tappy-tap, order my usual, or something else, and pay with CC, and get an order confirmation and be out of here long before the guy in line will be - and, oh look, I got a 'frequent mobile buyer' discount". A no-brainer -- and the lines will be maintained to be long enough to encourage usage of the "no labor" ordering solution (it's obvious that local retail outlets in my area which offer self service checkout are doing this - an orange home improvement store comes to mind).

        Yes, this shift is inevitable with, or without, an increase in wages. But, it will likely happen much faster with an increase of wages to $15.

        It's naive to believe that labor in retail service jobs can't be reduced in many ways -- some said that about telephone operators 50 years ago, but now we are all our own telephone operators. Labor savings can come from self service, remote preparation, and automation -- and all benefit from the march of technology which isn't stopping anytime soon.

        I'll bet noodle chefs in China thought that the couldn't be replaced by robots, but surprise!

        Folks that make hamburgers probably think they are safe, but look out!

        Or, look at the construction industry. Although it's still got a long way to go, a lot of labor has been squeezed out of on-site building (often at the expense of higher material costs, but that's a smart tradeoff). Once we threaded galvanized water supply pipes which took a long time, then we started using copper (which of course is better than galvanized) with sweated joints which took less time on site, now we are switching to PEX. The result is that WAY less on-site labor is required. Consider something as mundane as flooring - once we nailed down individual T&G wood boards, now it's more likely that there won't be a single nail in the floor -- just a few cuts, snap together on top of a "floating" membrane and install the baseboards - WAY less labor (and, when it wears, it's just replaced instead of a labor intensive and messy sanding/refinishing job). This trend isn't going to end soon.

    •  Bullshit (14+ / 0-)

      Santa Fe has the highest minimum wage in the nation and an unemployment rate of less than 6%. There is no correlation between low wages and high employment. You seem to act as if a raise in minimum wage (shame on you for employing people at that rate in the first place), would apply to you only, and not your competitors. You would all be in the same boat and you would have no competitive disadvantage. Meanwhile, the consumer economy would be boosted, tax revenues would increase, fewer people would rely on public assistance, and people could afford to buy more of your products/services.

      Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country, and no exemption for tipped wages, yet we have all the national chains, and they all do just fine.

      Excuses for paying less than a living wage are just that, excuses. The biggest problem for our consumer economy, and the middle class, is the decline in wages. If we want to have a thriving middle class, we need higher wages across the board for workers. And that starts with you, and your competitors that pay substandard wages.

      "It is easier to fool people, than to convince them they've been fooled" - Mark Twain

      by Sarge in Seattle on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:48:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not so (10+ / 0-)
      Those of us that run small businesses know that at the end of day raising the minimum wage freezes all hiring and we cut hours and do more work with less people.
      That's a common talking point but economic history actually shows the reverse is true. The additional cost that a minimum wage raise brings is offset 3-4 times on average by the market expansion of a wider body of people having more disposible income. In short, you may pay more for labour on average, but your potential market increases significantly.

      Yes, it can hurt small businesses, especially those we operate on very small margins. But the reality is that a business model that is based on workers who do not make a liveable wage is not a viable one.    

      •  The minimum wage increase is paid for by consumers (0+ / 0-)

        The large chains will just increase prices to pay for the inflated wage of workers which means the workers are paying for their own raise which defeats the purpose.

        Purchase power is just as important, if not more so, than the amount of money you earn.

        And if you are a progressive that hates places like Wal-Mart because they drive out local industry, then you can't turn around and offer the minimum wage increases that will also drive out local industry.

        Wal-Mart can weather the minmum wage storm much easier than small local businesses.

        The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

        by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:57:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And it is offset by market activity (4+ / 0-)

          Since the implementation of minimum wage laws there hasn't been a single credible study that shows it causes a contraction in the job market or has a measurable negative effect on as inflationary pressure on prices. It might sound logical to you, but the reality is that the opposite is almost always the case; minimum wages and minimum wage increases expand market activity.

          It's also a conservative fiction that in response to minimum wage increases, the cost is passed along automatically to the consumer. In general, with corrolating inflationary pressures present (which have a much greater impact than a three dollar hourly wage hike), market pressure maintains cost at a stable level. While large chains do possess a greater ability to absorb those costs due to economies of scale, outside of anocdotal evidence, in general it does not create a significant risk factor for small business. The main reason being that labour is almost always shown to be offset by activity in the areas where minimum wage labour is most often applied.

          Again, you can say this is what will happen because it is what makes sense about what should happen to you, but there is no major evidence to support it.

        •  Common Cents, the truth is that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berrieh, smileycreek

          you already employ the absolute minimum number of people that you can. If you employ more workers than that, then you are a shitty businessman.

          So don't tell us that you will employ fewer workers if the minimum wage goes up. That's just bullshit. What you will do is to accept a slightly lower profit margin or raise your prices if that's possible.

          Your argument is true only if you are the only business that pays a higher minimum wage. But if every business is obligated to do so, every consumer will have more to spend. Please look up the "multiplier effect".

          Did you hear the story of the farmer who fed his horse a little bit less every day in the hope of entirely eliminating the cost of feeding the beast? As he told his neighbor, "Things were working out real well until the damn horse died on me!"

          Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

          by Tim DeLaney on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:41:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Can't agree enough with your last sentence. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tim DeLaney
        Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

        Oh, I used to be disgusted
        Now I try to be amused
        ~~ Elvis Costello

        by smileycreek on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:35:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They better get their raise before the immigration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone, soros, Gentle Giant

    bill passes.  Because, after that, there will be several million more people competing for those jobs who might not mind $8.25 per hour.

    That may seem snarky or uncaring.. but it's not meant to be.  It's just cold hard reality.

    I believe everyone should make a living wage.  But corporations - with the support of both political parties - have taken advantage of the poorest, least educated workers.  And consumers are at the end of the chain of responsibility for this.

    In this day and age, should there be a dollar menu at McDonald's or Burger King?  No.  Only by keeping wages artificially low are these corporations allowed to do so.  The consumer is buying cheap food and goods off the backs of the workers providing it.

    Pay them a living wage and charge me whatever it takes to pay your workers properly - and give them benefits too!

    •  No evidence for your anti-immigrant comment. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, Gentle Giant, Egalitare

      Since those people are already here, how do you know that they are not the very ones striking now?

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:33:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because McDonald's & Burger King would be (0+ / 0-)

        breaking the law.  If even a small percentage of low-wage fast food workers were illegally working, that would amount to thousands if not tens of thousands of workers.  I doubt corporations like that would risk the fines.

        And how was it anti-immigrant?  To state that workers who can legally take jobs one day who could not the day before is a statement of fact.  There is no judgement in that statement.  

        On the day after the bill passes, millions will legally enter the workforce.  Do you disagree with that or find that statement to be offensive somehow?

    •  So you want poor people to pay for the living wage (0+ / 0-)

      What you are suggesting is increasing prices on average consumers to pay for the wage increases.

      Trouble is that if prices increase then the new living wage increase will be worthless because the people benefiting from it would be the same people paying for it.

      The answer to this problem is not in raising the minimum wage.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:33:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the answer is? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        You must be joking.

        We pay lower prices for nearly everything by exporting jobs to China and elsewhere.  I would much rather pay more for goods knowing the goods were made here and by workers making at least a living wage.

        The same goes for my food.

        My question above is rhetorical.  I know what your answer is already - the big bad evil corporations should be working as non-profit businesses and all the profits should be going to workers.  Right?  Is that about it?

        And, BTW.. if McDonald's were to take its $1.1 Billion in profits and evenly distribute it to its 761,000 workers, it would amount to less than $1400 per worker a year.  Or less than a dollar per hour - nowhere near a living wage for the lowest paid workers.

        So, we either pony up as consumers or workers continue to get sub-par wages.  Which is it?

  •  And one more thing.. get rid of part-time jobs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone

    Part-time is ok for school kids.  Or for the rare job that only needs a limited number of hours per week.

    But a job at a McDonald's should never be part-time.  There are hundreds or thousands of man hours per week at each store.  Those should be full-time!

    •  I wouldn't say "get rid of" but rather (6+ / 0-)

      have better ratios of PT and FT jobs AND allow flexibility and reliability in PT hours. The real problem with most PT jobs is they expect workers to be "on call" and won't give them reliable schedules - EXCEPT for sometimes with HS kids and such!

      Not everyone wants or needs to work FT. I don't have a problem with PT jobs - just the abuse of the system, especially in 'at will' states.

    •  Good luck with that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone, Gentle Giant

      Right now there is a $2,000 incentive built into Obamacare to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs:  employers of more than 50 people must pay for the health care of all full-time employees, pay the $2,000 fine, or reduce them to fewer than 30 hours per week.  Too many employers are choosing the last option.

      This will hit the Millennials hard.  Be sure that Obamacare is being blamed for this in e-mails and store meetings, not a reluctance to raise wage costs from 15.5% to 16.6% of revenue, reduce dividends by ten cents one quarter or to divert 14 cents per pizza into compensation from maintaining a castle with moat and golf course a la Papa John.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:49:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Consumer solution (0+ / 0-)

        There is a solution to this problem - and that is make it economically unwise for chains to cut employees down to part-time. We need to be keeping track of employers who do so - and boycott their stores. Paying for health insurance, especially with the subsidies, will not massively hurt the bottom line of these bigger businesses - and goodness knows they will be passing on "extra costs" to the consumer anyways, even if they dump their employees on the exchange.

    •  You should start your own restaurant. (0+ / 0-)

      Compete with Mcdonalds in the marketplace and you will be rewarded.

      To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

      by soros on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:36:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the Kind of Action It's Going to Take (4+ / 0-)

    and in more issue areas than this one.

    We've given ownership all the arguments and shown them all the history. They are doubling down in the opposite direction so they're going to have to be forcibly stopped.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:35:34 AM PDT

  •  Good, hurt evil 1% in the wallet nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye
  •  Chicago has the nation's most expensive downtown (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, a2nite, tb mare, israelfox87

    parking meters @ $6.50 per hour!  (Doesn't leave much left of that min. wage.)

    rabble rabble rabble

    by jwinIL14 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:56:55 AM PDT

  •  Right On! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, tb mare, I Lurked For Years

    One Big Union!

    Solidarity is the only way we're going to effectively change things for the betterment of the working class!

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:57:38 AM PDT

  •  Maybe they should just quit? (0+ / 0-)

    Since when has working at Mcdonalds been considered anything but a temporary job? It pays the bills for a few months but that's the limit... time to move forward.

    To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

    by soros on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:08:35 PM PDT

    •  Thats an absurd thing to say (5+ / 0-)

      For the millions of long-term unemployed, for the millions of people who have been left behind in our education system or work at these chains out of convenience, economic necessity or yes, because they like to work there, it is really not an option to just "find another job". If it was that easy, I know a whole bunch of unemployed people who wouldn't be scrounging to pay their bills right now.

      Actually talk to some of these workers - I've met many who have worked for 5,10,15 years at a McDonalds or Macy's.

      •  flipping burgers is a low skill job.. (0+ / 0-)

        Likely the lowest skilled job on the market.  Sure, there are a few people that stick around for 5 or 10 years but the numbers don't lie... the turnover rate in these jobs is incredibly high. People realize it's a dead job that doesn't lead to anything and they move on...

        Some of those people start their own restaurants where they can set their own hours and wages.  McDonalds is just a stepping stone to something better.. and really, if the franchise owner can't afford to pay $15 then who is to blame if he or she just shuts it down.

        To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

        by soros on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:46:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your world (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hirodog, berrieh, I Lurked For Years

          is coming at this from a perspective of privilege, I'm curious where you live that there is so much upward mobility amongst people who initially work in the service sector.

          In places like Chicago and New York, much less in more economically stagnant smaller cities like Bridgeport or Peoria, turnover is high, yet people move laterally in the service sector - making an extra dollar one year at a Taco Bell, a dollar less the next year at a CVS.

          As for starting your own restaurant - try doing so saving up on that 8 dollar an hour wage. Or with kids and an unemployed partner. Or with a disability. Or with a felony conviction. Its just as ludicrous as claiming that everyone who works at McDonalds can quit and find a better job.

    •  Why should a major industry consist of temporary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      israelfox87, I Lurked For Years

      workers?

      The fact that people can be easily trained for the job and are poorly paid and treated is WHY it's considered a temporary job. Why should it be? The McDonalds worker is the modern-day (unskilled) factory worker, in my view, and should be allowed to unionize and demand a livable wage and decent benefits for the betterment of ALL of us and our economy as a whole.

      Besides, it's more permanent with the economy stagnant. Though I'm not sure it was ever a 'temporary' job truly. I'm sure there are plenty of people who've worked various fast food jobs (maybe hopping places as needed, since they're poorly treated) for years.

  •  Said a spokesman for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russycle

    McDonalds franchises in Chicago:

    "We're not paying striking employees for the time they take to protest. City wide, this has amounted to a total loss of combined revenue for those employees of $125.13. They'll soon see the folly of their ways."

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:25:44 PM PDT

  •  It's coming.... (0+ / 0-)

    Either management pays a fair wage or the workers make management starve along with them.

    Let joy pour forth with every genuine communication.

    by Adelante on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 01:28:44 PM PDT

  •  This made me smile (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    israelfox87

    Huge cheers to those brave enough to stand up and demand to be treated with the dignity that they deserve for their work. These Corporations post huge profits thanks to the work of all these folks and their share of it gets smaller and smaller. No one who works should have to forgo adequate food, healthcare, or heating for themselves or their loved ones. Here's hoping they will be an inspiration to others! Will we see any prominent Democrats stand with them?

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:01:57 PM PDT

  •  stand with workers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, smileycreek

    I stand with chicago workers people had enough of the low wages time is now to rise the min. wage

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