Over the last couple of years, fast food workers have been organizing increasingly large and visible protests to demand an hike to the minimum wage. Today, fast food workers are joined by home health care workers in the largest planned protests to date, not only planning a nationwide strike in more than 100 cities, but also upping the ante by vowing civil disobedience.
Fast food workers, now along with home care workers, are demanding an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As we’ve covered before, these protests and the demand of a living wage are a feminist issue, full stop. Two thirds of fast food workers of women – disproportionately women of color – many of whom are the main earners in their families. Home care workers, too, are overwhelmingly women of color and immigrant women. Despite working full time or more, these workers and their families are often living in poverty. To make things worse, wage theft runs rampant in these sectors.
Fast food companies know that their wages are not enough to live on, and direct their employees to publicly-funded safety net programs such as Medicaid to provide the benefits that they are unwilling to provide themselves. This means, of course, that the salaries of fast food CEOs – you know, the ones that are one thousand times the pay of your average fast food worker – are basically being subsidized by you and me. Yup, because a few rich dudes don’t want to become slightly-less-rich (but still really fucking rich) dudes by giving their workers $15 an hour and the ability to bargain collectively for benefits like health care, taxpayers are footing the bill. Which is not to say safety net programs are not essential – I savor every tax dollar that goes into these programs and not militarized police departments, foreign wars, and draconian immigration enforcement – but if we’re stuck living in a system in which these benefits are not provided to people just on the basis that they are human and need them, I’m gonna need these guys to foot their share of the bill.
So show some solidarity today. If you walk by a restaurant and see protesters, show them that you support them. And by all means, never cross a picket line.
Verónica is pretty fucking sick of capitalism.