Thursday, May 8, 2014


On May 15th in 150 cities, including St. Louis and Show Me 15!, fast food workers will be on strike for a higher minimum wage. 

Join the strike:
Sign the Petition:

According to Raise The Minimum Wage website, if minimum wage had risen with inflation, it would be $10.86.  (In 2012 I read a study that said $13.38, but I can't find the link.)

And according to a study covered by HuffPost, if the wage had increased with worker productivity, it would be $21.72.

$15 really is the minimum.  $10.86 is still too low.  $21.72 is very justified though.

Consider this:

Employers have been under-paying their employees for forty years.  Productivity is up, so they are paying less for more.  Do I need to make the point about where those big executive salaries are coming from?

The ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay is 273-1, down from a high of 383-1 in 2000, but up from 20-1 in 1965.

At the beginning of Reagan's presidency our country had the least unequal income gap in the world, now we have the greatest income gap.

From the same article:

CEO pay has increased faster than wages to high-skilled workers, suggesting that the salary market isn't very efficient. "Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment," the report concludes.

We are doing the work- and doing it faster and better- but we are not getting any benefit.

You  know what grew instead of worker's earnings?  Credit cards and credit card debt.  If you are over 50 you probably remember when credit cards were American Express and Diner's Club for rich people and executive expense accounts (back when their salaries were only 20 times bigger than the average worker's).

Unions have been losing strength since Reagan.  The "Right To Work" states are union-busting.  Right to work means "you have the right to work as a non-union employee at a union shop".  For non-union wages, that is.  It's not right, it is totally wrong!  (Every job should have a union!

And now with the economic collapse in 2008, things just keep getting worse.  This statistic tells the whole story:

The National Employment Law Project reports that that low wage industries employ 1.85 million MORE workers now than at the start of the recession while mid-and higher-wage industries employ 1.83 million LESS.

Basically, all of the people that lost their white collar jobs are taking over the low wage jobs.  (This explains the 200 applications a week for part-time mall jobs.)

Did you know that wealth grows at a faster rate than economic growth? The rich get richer, no matter what happens to the rest of us. 

As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth.

(You might like this, too, on Piketty's book:

There is no shortage of work.  There is plenty to do.  And there is no shortage of money, either.  No executive deserves 273 times the amount of money his employees make.  That is ridiculous.

And as for this argument that it will "hurt" small businesses.  Well, low wages are already hurting their employees, and a higher minimum wage would actually help in weeding out unprofitable businesses.  Too many people with a little inherited wealth start businesses that are really hobbies.
(And then there are places like this: )

The people at the top-- the wealthy people, and job "Creators"-- are not going to give us decent pay of their own accord.  Take Metro for example. The CEO of Metro, John Nations, makes 5 times what his drivers do (and while that isn't 273 or even 20 times what they make, this is public transit agency, not a Wall Street brokerage).  Metro drivers have been working for 6 years without a new bargaining contract or a raise.

CEO John Nations is fond of reminding everyone that he is only at Metro to prepare his political career as governor or senator.  He promises Right To Work will be first on his agenda, I've been told by five or six people that know him personally.  Basically, we the people are paying him to advance his own interest.

I don't think these people should be running our society or keeping such big chunks of the money for themselves.  I don't think a business of any size, large or small, should ask workers to live below the poverty level.

Do you?

If you agree that things need to change, support the worker's by not eating fast food on May 15th.  Call the corporate headquarters of McDonald's, Taco Bell, etc, and tell them you stand with the striking workers.  Call Mayor Slay and tell him you support $15 an hour in St. Louis.

Seattle will have a $15 minimum wage in three years. Let's put St. Louis on the map.  SHOW ME 15!


More reasons not to eat fast food:

You might also like this post, on my Occupy Your Life blog:

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