Fast-Food Fight for $15 An Hour Continues

September 24, 2014
By Stephanie West

Washington DC – Here’s the latest update from the fast-food workers’ fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. William Finnegan’s New Yorker profile “Dignity,” on McDonald’s worker Arisleyda Tapia, is generating widespread interest. Politico Playbook named it a “Great Read” of the week.

And on WNYC, Finnegan told Leonard Lopate that the fast-food workers’ demand for $15 an hour “sounded pretty outlandish when it started,” but that “it’s really caught fire.” A Manhattan restaurant owner and member of the National Restaurant Association called into the show and said, “It seems ridiculous that these organizations think it’s okay to pay people such a low wage that they can’t do the things that conservatives generally think are important like taking care of your family, not relying on government handouts to survive and that the big organizations like McDonald’s are big welfare recipients themselves.”
On The New Yorker’s “Political Scene” podcast, Finnegan said, the fight for $15 “is striking a loud chord with other working families, working poor across the country.” George Packer, who joined the “Political Scene” conversation, said, “It’s really the first nationwide workers’ movement that has caught the spirit at this moral indignation at inequality and the situation of the working poor…. My guess is if Obama weren’t president and were an activist still, he’d be involved in this.”
On Twitter, New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse called the story, “the best piece I’ve ever read on the Fight for Fifteen.” And food journalist Mark Bittman called it, “powerful.”  
Minimum Wage Opponents’ Claims Still Out of Touch With Reality a Century Later
In a follow-up to his New Yorker profile of Tapia, Finnegan dismantles Republican sky-is-falling claims about raising the minimum wage. He writes, “In the view of its opponents, the minimum wage—or raising an existing minimum—will always and inevitably damage the economy, kill jobs, doom American freedom, and/or harm the very people that it is meant to help. This litany of alarm has a dismal record as a description of reality, and yet has not changed much over the past century.”
McDonald’s “Won’t Be Sorry to See 2014 Come to a Close”
A front-page Chicago Tribune article on McDonald’s plans to try to improve its crashing image and sales leads with: “McDonald’s probably won’t be sorry to see 2014 come to a close.” One of the main reasons cited by reporter Jessica Wohl is fast-food workers “pushing the company and its peers to raise wages.”

September 23, 2014

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