The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

mcdonalds strikeThis Thursday, organizers of a movement that supports a wage increase for fast-food workers plan to take to the streets again to put more pressure on major fast-food chains.

According to The New York Times, organizers will sponsor one-day strikes in 100 cities on Thursday and other protest-related activities in an additional 100 cities the same day. It will be the third such effort in the past two years; in 2012, hundreds of workers in New York City walked out on the job at various fast-food chains to demand higher pay, and just this past August, workers in 50 cities led strikes for the same cause.

Over the past year, labor unions — most recently the Service Employees International Union — and politicians have joined the fight. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Barack Obama declared that “no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty” and suggested we “raise the federal minimum wage.”

“The single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead,” Obama added.

Yet, despite advocates arguing that a wage increase is necessary to allow workers to sustain a comfortable life, the National Restaurant Association calls the organized protests nothing more than “publicity stunts.”

The fast-food industry is a $200 billion business, yet many chains offer wages just a dollar above the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25. Because the wages are so low, 52 percent of fast-food workers rely on some sort of government assistance, costing taxpayers an approximate $3.8 billion a year, according to a report published by the National Employment Law Project.

Workers are now demanding a $15-an-hour wage, which some have labeled the “living wage.”

However, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association Scott DeFife called the proposed wage “completely unrealistic,” and argued that perhaps fast-food workers living at or around the poverty level are “a result of the economic distress that the country has been under, and not a kind of pattern that the restaurant industry intends to have as its base.”

In an attempt to teach “practical money skills” to its workers, McDonald’s announced a budget plan for employees, insisting that “managing your money can be simple.”

The problem with the proposed budgets, as one McDonald’s employee, Nancy Salgado, notes, is that workers making barely above the minimum wage do not have extra money to save at the end of the month.

Salgado and the millions of others in her situation know that a $15-an-hour wage will not make them “rich,” but, as she points out, it will allow workers to feel “safe” and “live well.”

Photo: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jacob Chansley, or the "QAnon Shaman," in face paint, furs and horned hat during the January 6 Capitol riot.

Screenshot from Justice Department complaint

Notorious Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley, better known as the "QAnon shaman," is negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors after psychologists found he suffers from multiple mental illnesses, his lawyer told Reuters -- while painting a rosy image of the violent insurrectionist's part during the Capitol riot.

According to Albert Watkins, Chansley's defense lawyer, he was diagnosed with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety by officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The findings have not yet been made public.

Keep reading... Show less

'Audit' under way in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Screenshot from

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

The "big lie" that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected is not going away. One reason is Americans who care about their democracy are not learning how votes for president in 2020 were counted and verified — neither from the big lie's promoters nor from most of its fact-driven critics.

Keep reading... Show less