Billions served, while workers remain underserved

January 17, 2014

By: Raina J. Johnson
Special to The Milwaukee Times
In more than 100 cities across the nation, December 5, 2013 was a worker day of action. Fast food workers stood together to show solidarity in their efforts to raise the minimum wage and get their fair share from the billion dollar corporations that employ them. Demonstrations began as early as 6:00 a.m. in Milwaukee, with more than 100 people.
According to a news release by University of California at Berkeley, their report, “Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry,” revealed that the fast-food industry costs American tax payers nearly $7 billion annually because its jobs pay so little that 52 percent of fast-food workers are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs.
In Wisconsin, low pay ends up costing our state $166 million every year. Workers are fighting back and raising their voices in order for action to be taken by the state legislature or federal government to raise the minimum wage. On the day of action, events took place in Milwaukee, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Green Bay, Madison and Racine.
According to Wisconsin Jobs Now, in the Milwaukee area there are 18,250 frontline fast-food workers. Chants of “We can’t survive on $7.25” began at 6:00 a.m. and a few workers walked off the job to a crowd of supporters chanting, “C’mon out, we’ve got your back!” All are working towards $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers or unfair labor practices.
Following the 6:00 a.m. strike hundreds more workers and supporters gathered at the Wisconsin Jobs Now office, 1862 W. Fond du Lac Ave for a briefing, then proceeded to a march and rally at other fast food locations throughout the city.
Workers say they will not give up in the fight for fair wages and a better future and they have a lot of people supporting them in that fight, such as Rosalynn Wolfe from the League of Young Voters and many other coalition partners.Milwaukee