Unions plan fast-food strikes for minimum wage hikes

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Breanna Deutsch Contributor
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Labor unions and liberal activists want you to say goodbye to the McDonalds dollar menu.

On Thursday fast-food workers and union-backed activist groups will organize protests across the country demanding a $15 dollar minimum wage, reports The New York Times.

These protests are part of a broader movement that began in November 2012, when 200 fast-food workers participated in a day-long strike at over 20 restaurants in New York City. Since then, the union-endorsed activist groups, Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, have campaigned to establish a $15 dollar minimum wage across the country.

In August of this year, the labor activist groups staged the largest fast-food worker strike ever, with protests taking place in 50 cities across the country. They plan to out-do their August protest this Thursday, with strikes planned in over a 100 cities.

“There’s been pretty huge growth in one year,” Kendall Fells, one of the movement’s main organizers, told the NY Times. “People understand that a one-day strike is not going to get them there. They understand that this needs to continue to grow,” she explained.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) have condemned the union-endorsed strikes, calling them publicity stunts. NRA officials say that raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour would dramatically increase the already high unemployment rate for workers under 25.

Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, says if you want to see the consequences of dramatically raising entry-level wages, look no further than Europe.

“McDonalds in Europe replaced a lot of their workers with touch screens. So instead of placing your order with a person you are placing it with a computer screen. There is even technology that exists now to automate burger-making,” Saltsman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

He explained that businesses may have no other option but to cut staff and rely more heavily on technology if wages are raised to unsustainable levels.

Labor unions might even realize that a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour is unrealistic, but by “pushing for a $15 minimum wage they are trying to make a $10 or $11 minimum wage seem reasonable,” Saltsman explained.

This is also all part of a labor union scheme to demonize big corporations, says Satlsman. However, the truth is that “Most of the people who are earning minimum wage right now are not working for large corporations — 52% work at small businesses with less than a 100 employees.”

He added, “These businesses are not thinking about big CEO salaries, they are just trying to keep their doors open. “

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