Fast-food workers are holding a Black History Month strike in 15 cities to push for a $15 minimum wage

Image
A group of BLM demonstrators protest the Federal Reserve Bank about $US15 minimum wage in NYC to solidarity nationwide in Lower Manhattan at the financial district in New York, United States on July 20, 2020 Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Fast-food will strike on Tuesday for a $US15 minimum wage and better COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Care workers will also protest in support of the wage rise.
  • Doubling the minimum wage to $US15 is part of Biden’s $US1.9 trillion stimulus proposal.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Fast-food workers will strike on Tuesday for a $US15 minimum wage, more training, and better COVID-19 safety measures.

Some workers from fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s would strike in 15 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Houston, according to Fight for $US15, a group that advocates for raising the minimum wage.

This comes as President Joe Biden pushes for a $US15 federal minimum wage, despite opposition from Republican lawmakers and some Democratic politicians.

Tuesday’s strike will focus on Black communities “who have faced generations of low pay and insufficient protections on the job, leaving them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” the group told Insider.

Fight for $US15 has been staging walkouts since 2012 to advocate for an increase in the minimum wage and is supported by the Service Employees International Union.

Nearly a third of Black workers would get a raise if the minimum wage rises to $US15, the Economic Policy Institute found.


Read more:
Joe Biden’s $US15 minimum wage plan is complicating the stimulus action. There are two major hurdles: opposition on both sides, and an arcane Senate rule.

Home care and nursing home workers, including members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Service Employees International Union, will also take solidarity action on Tuesday. Alongside the $US15 minimum wage, they will demand better wages, benefits, and training, Fight for $US15 said.

The care workers will be taking action outside agencies that oversee Medicaid in at least 15 cities, including Atlanta and Los Angeles, calling for a major investment in Medicaid, it said.

“As a home care worker who has been told I’m essential but treated like I’m expendable, this fight is about pay — but it’s also about respect and a voice on the job for all workers,” Joyce Barnes, a home care worker from Richmond, Virginia, said in a statement provided by Fight for $US15.

In Orlando and Tampa, striking workers will also protest against an effort by a Republican legislator to make workers who have been previously incarcerated, are under 21, or are considered “hard to hire,” ineligible for Florida’s $US15 minimum wage.

The strikes were first reported by The Guardian.

Doubling national wage would mean one in five Americans earn more

A national minimum wage of $US15, up from the current $US7.25, would mean around one in five Americans earns more, the Economic Policy Institute said. It could also help reduce income equality, its research found, with women, minorities, and frontline workers benefiting the most.

“[The minimum wage increase] would change my life a lot,” McDonald’s worker Gloria Machuca, who earns $US9.50 an hour,told Insider’s Juliana Kaplan. Until recently she worked 80-hour weeks across two different McDonald’s branches to support her six children.

“It is not fair that we work so much and that we have to suffer this much,” she added.

Biden pushed for a $US15 minimum wage during his campaign, and it’s part of his $US1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, though this has faced pushback from Republican senators and some Democratic lawmakers.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confirmed that the minimum wage increase to $US15, which would happen incrementally over five years, would be included in the House’s stimulus package being given to the Senate.

The federal minimum wage has not been raised in more than a decade. In 2019, the US House of Representatives passed a plan to incrementally raise the federal minimum wage to $US15 an hour by 2025, but the Senate rejected it.

This push for a wage rise comes as states are boosting their own minimum wages. Twenty states increased their minimum wages at the start of 2021, and several more are set to see boosts in the coming months.

Companies are increasingly taking the matter into their own hands, too. Among those that have raised, or announced plans to raise, their hourly minimum wage to $US15 or higher are Wayfair, Starbucks,Target, Amazon, and Costco.