"Without a coherent modern industrial strategy, it is easy for employers and governments to offer low wage, precarious jobs," says James Clancy, NUPGE National President. "And without a strong labour movement looking out for this economic inequality, and fighting against it, the bosses get away with it."
Ottawa (05 Dec. 2013) – In one of the biggest walkouts of fast food industry workers in the United States, workers took to the sidewalks to bring attention to the need for higher wages in the sector.
Walkouts planned across the U.S.
There is a concerted campaign throughout the U.S. to raise the annual earnings of fast food service workers from $7.25 per hour ($15,000 per year) to a liveable wage. Proposals for increased wages vary across state lines but most agree that at a minimum $15 per hour would provide an improved salary which could better take care of the workers and their families.
There has not been a minimum wage increase in the U.S. since 2009. This week the White House responded agreeing that wages need to be raised. President Obama has suggested $9 per hour as a possible number.
The other major issue for fast food service workes are the lack of enough consistent hours to make a living. Most staff work a range of hours and most never reach full-time hours which would enable them to get health or dental benefits.
Big corporations, McDonalds, Burger King and others distance themselves from franchise decisions
Multinational corporations refuse to make voluntary changes to pay scales. In defense of the low-wage strategy, the National Restaurant Association has stated that these jobs are mostly occupied by young workers with little experience. It believes that increasing wages would cost the industry jobs.
Yet earlier this year in April 2013, according to CBC.ca, McDonalds tripled the pay of its new CEO from $8.8 million to $27.7 million.
Lack of modern industrial strategy allows low wage job strategy to flourish
"Without a coherent modern industrial strategy, it is easy for employers and governments to offer low wage, precarious jobs," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "And without a strong labour movement looking out for this economic inequality, and fighting against it, the bosses get away with it."
"The 'raise the minimum wage' campaigns in the U.S. and across Canada are bringing more attention to the issue of growing income inequality. We need to work in solidarity with these unorganized workers to create the conditions that allow them to fully participate in their communities, raise a family and stay healthy. Solidarity of this kind knows no borders."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE