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#FightFor15: Fast Food Workers Stage Rallies Across Country, Demanding Living Wage and Union Rights

#FightFor15: Fast Food Workers Stage Rallies Across Country, Demanding Living Wage and Union Rights

Julia Conley, staff writer

Fast food and other low-paid workers across the country, with a focus on the South, are staging walkouts and demonstrations on Monday to call attention to the fight for a minimum wage of $15 per hour and the right to unionize.

Together with the Poor People's Campaign, the national group Fight for $15 is staging rallies in cities including Detroit, Los Angeles, and Memphis—the site of the historic sanitation workers' march exactly 50 years ago.

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I live in WA with the highest min wage in the nation which at the beginning of the year became $11.50/hr (even for restaurant/fast food). Even at full employment of 2080 hrs/yr, you could not afford a room, let alone an entire apt in most of the western part of the state (assuming you stayed below the 30% recommended threshold).

It’s not just wages that are too low, it is not enough affordable housing, not enough hours, rising costs for other necessities (not wants).

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(not wants)…few people understand the difference between need and want, I’m glad you pointed that out. Over 1/2 of our population is in need. Where is the shame in that?

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Unless your goal is to mount even more artificial obstacles in the way of the most vulnerable amongst each successive generation, then this “fight for $15” is a profoundly horrible idea. Minimum wage laws, as such, are counter-productive, not to mention presumptuous, unfair, unjust and immoral. Three main points: 1) No one has the right to coercively impose upon the mutually-voluntary, non-invasive contractual agreements of others; 2) you do not make a person’s productive efforts worth a given amount to a potential employer, simply by making it illegal to pay them less, you only deprive them of an opportunity; 3) by depriving inexperienced and/or low-skilled workers of the ability to get work (and therewith, experience & skills), you effectively relegate them to the world of “government assistance” and black market means of acquiring income - in most cases & places today, drug-dealing & gang activity. The bottom line is, minimum wage laws hurt the very people they’re supposed to be intended to help. It just chops the bottom rungs off the economic ladder. Supporting minimum wage laws may feel good, like you’re supporting the plight of the working poor, but like most policies based purely on emotionalist platitudes, they fly in the face of sound logic & reasoning. To put it bluntly, minimum wage laws are stupid & destructive. We should be demanding their immediate abolition, not demanding to have the problem of systemic involuntary unemployment exacerbated by increasing them.

What a person can or cannot afford (by themselves) working a given job at a given wage rate, is not a valid justification for using the coercive power of law to violate the rights of potential employers & employees to mutually & voluntarily agree to it. By what reasoning should we assert that every single job available in society must be considered as a “breadwinner” job by which one may buy a home & raise a family, then appeal to the coercive power of the state to impose that assertion? Whatever happened to the concept of “entry level” jobs? The idea of gaining skills & experience to make oneself more value-productive? See, in an (at least relatively free) market society, prices are determined by supply & demand; not producer or consumer fiat. Wages are a price also, & they’re subject to the same economic phenomena; they’re determined by supply of & demand for each particular form of labor (which in turn is determined by how urgently-demanded is the product of a given particular form of labor by the mass of the consuming public), not by unilateral employer fiat. If they were, then why would anyone make a penny more than the government-enforced mandatory minimum wage? In reality, the way wages/living standards are increased, is by increasing the productivity of labor vis a vis the most urgent not-yet-satisfied wants & needs of others in society. To put it another way - If you want to buy a home & raise a family comfortably, then you need to aspire to provide a more valuable service to society than “may I take your order?” Feel me? or no?

What ill thought out commentary.

In a system where all of lifes needs are predicated on access to MONEY you have the coercion of money. Do you really think those millions of Childrens working in Factories in India sewing clothes for the Wal-marts of the world are there by CHOICE and that their empty bellies or lack of a roof over their heads is not COERCION and that any arrangement they enter into with a person with Capital is a “mutually agreed to contract” ?

Oh and before you come back with those countries being third World child labor was commonplace in the Western Nations before Governments passed laws that in your words COERCED employers into meeting standards when they employed the same including hours worked, workplace safety and wages paid. As to “rights” what are you on about? What right exists that says a Company can pay any wage it wishes and demand their employee to do any work that they demand? Where does that “right” derive from?

Your Libertarian nonsense will get no traction here.


Good luck to the Poor Peoples Campaign. They need to get $15. per hour. They need to be able to afford housing, apartments, real food. This is unconscionable.

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I just looked at Craigslist for Seattle and there are multiple room listings for $600 - $900. So no. Slightly over the 30% rule but justified for an area like Seattle. Can’t afford it? Move. Housing is cheap in 80% of the country.

Fast food and minimum wage work is for kids, students, part timers, retired people looking to stay active and the like. It’s not going to support a single adult in the manner you think it should.

With present housing and food costs spiraling upward for years $15 an hour is not enough to afford a shack in many locales. Mass depopulation is right around the corner as some attempts are already in progress. CDC, big Pharma, big tobacco, big alcohol, big agrochemicals, chemtrails, FDA, the assault is on.

Well said! Fuck these sockpuppets!

Money is just a means of indirect exchange; really all you’re doing is just complaining that people have to work to attain “access to all of lifes needs.” Sorry to break this to you, but this isn’t the Garden of Eden, & nature just stubbornly refuses to provide much in the way of readily-consumable goods; if we want to consume, we have to first labor to produce. Socialism does not magically cancel out the reality of natural scarcity. All it does is substitute all the value judgments & decisions regarding allocation of individual productive effort & capital goods, of a small gaggle of politicians & bureaucrats, for that of all the individuals (intrinsically legitimate owners of said labor & property) ourselves.
Regarding the kids working in the factories in third-world countries; yes, I do think they’re there by choice of themselves and/or parents. If not, then it’s slavery, and I categorically oppose it. But I don’t believe that’s the case & you’ll have to provide solid sources to prove otherwise to me.
But as to you’re argument, that “coercion of money” is a thing; it’s infantile nonsense. I apologize, I hate to be rude, but I have to be honest & direct. We ALL come into this world having to deal with the reality of natural scarcity. Bottom line, we have to be willing to put forth some effort to produce, or else we starve. Obviously, some people are lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family & get spoiled their entire lives, but that doesn’t change the fact that someone, at some point, had to work hard to produce wealth to eventually be passed down. Simple fact is though, to the extent we’re presupposing somewhat of a free market, each person’s share of the total “pie” of production is ultimately determined by the relative value-productivity we can offer to the rest of society through our efforts. And by setting up a factory in India, Walmart (or any of its thousands of suppliers, but whatever) give the people there an opportunity to increase the productivity of their labor, & thereby increase their own living standards. No one is forcing them to go work there as opposed to whatever else they would or could do if Walmart had never showed up & presented the opportunity; the fact they chose to work at Walmart is ipso facto proof they considered their best available option. You don’t help anyone out by taking away from them the option they’d already proven by their actions to have considered the best available opportunity.
Re: your last couple points - it was not government legislation or “regulation” (so-called) that ended widespread child labor in the Western World; it was the simple byproduct of the massive gains in general living standards which any (even relatively) free market system brings about. Until the industrial revolution brought that about, it was never a choice between send your kids to work, or else allow them to go to school and/or frolick about the playgrounds all day; it was the choice between send them to work, or else they starve to death. Capitalism changed all that; the general standard of living increased so much so fast that people were quickly able to afford to choose to have their kids get an education rather than have to pull their own proverbial weight in the household income.
But of course, when it had reached the point where the newly-established “middle class” represented the overwhelming majority, & only the very poor (including mostly immigrants, minorities, & whoever else was systematically precluded from the labor union rolls) still sent their kids to work, that’s when government stepped in -on behalf, of course, of the labor unions, whose interest was simply to eliminate competition, not to benefit “the common good”- and outlawed child labor. And of course, we’re all taught in government schools about how it was beneficent, civic-minded politicians who ended child labor, against the will of evil capitalist “robber barons” who only wanted to keep all out kids in a condition of slavery. It’s fairy tale peddling disguised as scholarly history. Really what it is, is statist indoctrination.
And to what right that exists that allows employers to pay workers whatever wage they both agree to? That’s the right of free association. Rights are, in fact, a negative concept; they don’t positively impose any duty or obligation on anyone (to do so would be self-defeating, contrary to their very nature), they only negate, they proscribe actions which invade against the equal & immutable rights of all others to be secure in their life, liberty & property from initiatory force & fraud. If you agree with another person to pay them $4 per hour to sweep the floor or your shop, you’re well within your rights. Where rights-violations come into play, is when some presumptuous, self-righteous third party comes along & insists that the contractual, mutually-voluntary agreement you made with the guy (or girl) be prohibited & punishable by the coercive power of the state.
Get it?

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