Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mass Protests Today, Cable News Might Ignore

This is why today there will be a mass walk out in a Fight for $15 protest...

The median price for a 2-bedroom apartment in the U.S. is $1,300 a month — or $15,000 a year, excluding utilities. (Here is Zumper's February 2015 report). According to wage data from Social Security, the annual median wage was $28,851 — meaning, half of all wage earners in the U.S. earn more and half earn less.

If a person only earned the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and were lucky enough to get 40 hours a week, that would be $15,080 a year before any taxes were deducted. That's why there has been a big nation-wide push to raise this wage to $15 an hour (making it an annual wage of $31,200 a year before taxes).

In the "old days" we used to think of jobs in fast food or at the mall as "entry level positions" for young people who were new to the labor force, or for teenagers still in high school trying to earn money for their first car — or to save towards college.

But times have changed, as millions of the better union manufacturing jobs and IT jobs were offshored overseas, leaving the U.S. with a service economy. Now older people (and old people) rely on these types of jobs to earn a living, and now need to earn a "living wage" to survive — because just like rents, food and everything else keeps going up (the odd exception being gasoline right now).

Today college-educated people are taking jobs that once only required a high school diploma, and are displacing high school grads for jobs, creating a huge decrease in the number of people who would otherwise be in the labor force (and are not currently counted in the unemployment statistics that we always hears about in the news.) We have 14.8 million more Americans "not in the labor force" since Obama took office (during our "economic recovery".)

Far too many of the new jobs being created since the Great Recession (if they aren't going to foreign-born workers and/or to those on guestworker visas), are either part-time and/or temp positions. (Bernie Sanders has a better record on H-1B visas than Clinton or any Republican candidate running.)

That's why today there will be a mass walk out in a Fight for $15 protest.

McDonalds sucks!The Phony Minimum Wage Argument

If a company like McDonalds needs 2 people to serve 100 burgers a day, and they claim that raising the minimum wage will force them to lay off an employee, does that mean the remaining McDonalds employee will then have to start serving 100 burgers a day? Or will McDonalds just start serving only 50 burgers a day?

With recent victories in the movement for a $15 minimum wage in both California and New York, low-wage workers are planning their largest ever mobilization today (April 14th).

Most of the Fight for $15 protests in the last three years have centered around fast-food workers, who’ve made a point of shaming companies like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut for paying low wages, and forcing them onto taxpayers with Medicaid and food stamps.

But the campaign has broadened to include workers of all stripes who also say that they’re being shortchanged too, such as big box retailers and giants like Wal-Mart. The protests have prompted a rash of minimum-wage hikes that seemed borderline unimaginable just a few years ago.

Officials in both California and New York recently announced that they would gradually phase in $15 statewide wage floors. Recently Hillary and Bill Clinton praised their governors for raising the wage — while at the same time, criticizing Bernie Sanders for his "pie in the sky" plans and saying his ideas weren't "pragmatic" — while also claiming he was "making promises that he couldn't keep".

Hillary Clinton said she "has supported" raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour; Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation in Congress raising it to $15 an hour — including tipped workers, who sometimes make as little as $2.13 an hour — and Sanders campaigns on this as part of his overall platform.

Workers employed in low-wage industries plan on taking to the streets on today to continue their call for a $15 minimum hourly wage and union rights. But this time around, workers in fast food, day care and airports will be joined by a new group of agitators: hospital workers.

Several dozen employees at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) — the largest private-sector employer in Pennsylvania — plan to take part in the one-day strike Thursday, according to the campaign’s organizers.

The UPMC employees are being organized by the SEIU, the powerful 2-million-member group that has funded the broader Fight for $15 movement. SEIU has been locked in an ugly fight with UPMC as it seeks to unionize janitors, cafeteria workers, housekeepers and other service workers in the system. It should also be noted that the leadership of SEIU endorsed Hillary Clinton, although the rank-and-file members said their push for Bernie Sanders isn't over. (Most of Clinton's union endorsements were against the wishes of its actual dues-paying working members.)

Although the Fight for $15 campaign has been winning $15 at the city and state levels, it hasn’t made as much progress on its other goal: making union members out of more workers. The fast food industry, in particular, is notoriously difficult to organize, thanks in large part to the sky-high turnover rate, and the way the industry is splintered through franchising. Generally, under current law, you’d have to unionize restaurants one by one, rather than, say, all McDonald’s at once.

And that is another reason why a federal minimum wage increase is needed.

Yesterday on [John] Ralston Live on PBS, a McDonalds shill (a former state senator who's now a lobbyist) kept saying that 90% of management started out [flipping burgers] on the minimum wage, and that raising the minimum wage would hurt opportunities for others to advance. But no one asked him if 90% of McDonalds' workers usually move up to upper management. (HINT: They don't)

If a company like McDonalds needs 2 people to serve 100 burgers a day, and they (and the National Restaurant Association) claims that raising the minimum wage will force them to lay someone off, does that mean the remaining McDonalds employee will have to serve 100 burgers a day, or will McDonalds start selling only 50 burgers a day?

These corporations have spending billions of dollars every year on mergers-&-acquisitions and stock buybacks — but yet, very little (if any) of their profits are invested in employees’ wages — because the CEOs say raising wages would slow hiring, reduce worker hours, cause layoffs, raise consumer prices, destroy the economy, and end life as we know it on Earth.

But what the "job creators" never tell us is, if they did raise workers’ wages, these CEOs might also have to buy one less beachfront mansion, a smaller private jet or a shorter luxury yacht.


  1. It's all very good to raise wages - but what if we start to lose all our service sector jobs to automation?

    1. I suspect they will all do that anyway (at some time) if it's cheaper than paying wages. Small businesses wouldn't have the capital to afford the technology. All the jobs that went to China might go to robots too. Maybe automation (and A.I.) will one day replace CEOs too.

      When Human Labor becomes Obsolete


    Fox News just reported on the Fight for $15 marches!

    Not a peep from CNN or MSNBC (that I saw). Maybe they're too busy bashing Bernie Sanders.

  3. ox News, who's notorious for shopping around for the dumbest person they can find to interview when skewing their "news" reports, must have screwed up today really bad — and reported LIVE. During a segment with Neil Cavuto, a reporter interviewed a young lady in Chicago about the Fight for $15 protest, who actually made a very coherent and reasonable case for the movement. I don't think the folks at Fox News were all too happy about that ... CUT!!!!

  4. You didn't see this on cable news...

    Sanders leads Clinton nationally 49% to 48%

    --- and this...

    Bernie Sanders's inspiring #fightfor15 video: "We can change the status quo when we think big and have a vision."