The Institute for Southern Studies’ online magazine Facing South published figures relating to fast food workers’ demands for higher pay and the right to unionize following a nationwide strike last week, finding that their efforts are paying off.
The movement has gained momentum since the strikes began in 2012, and Forbes magazine reports that this year a growing number of service industry workers are adding weight to the struggle:
For the first time, airport workers, including baggage handlers, skycaps, wheelchair attendants and aircraft cleaners, plus retail workers at convenience and dollar stores like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are making their own call for higher pay.
According to a report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), 18 cities have raised their minimum wage since the first protest in November 2012, with 5 others considering a similar increase, finding
the economic evidence indicates that local minimum wages have proven to be effective tools for raising pay and improving job quality without reducing employment or encouraging businesses to leave cities.
The figures reveal a stark irony: those toiling to provide meals for masses of American eaters must supplement their incomes with welfare and food stamps to make a living and provide for their own families. Facing South‘s index reports that more than 50% of fast food workers rely on public assistance, costing taxpayers $7 billion a year, according NPR.
The NELP report further finds that paying higher wages does not result in business closure or loss of employment, and has significant economic benefits for cities that enact ordinances to increase pay.
Read Facing South‘s Index on striking fast food workers here.
Read Facing South‘s Index on the economic impact of those strikes here.