Fast-food Strike: How Strong is the Case for a Big Wage Hike?

May 14, 2014 | | Christian Science Monitor |

Fast-food workers and labor organizers are planning a strike of global proportions Thursday, based on the premise that low-wage occupations should still be “living wage” occupations. In the US, Thursday’s date – May 15 – carries numerical significance, as actions in as many as 150 cities aim to win a pay raise to at least $15-an-hour from restaurant chains in the industry, as they also push to unionize the companies.

Backers have also sought to make their push against income inequality global. Events outside the US – from Argentina to Hong Kong – have goals related to wage or worker-rights issues in those places.

The labor push coincides with rising public attention given to wages and inequality. Higher minimum wages have gone into effect this year in a number of states and cities, President Obama is pushing for a national minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, and a French economist has topped bestseller charts with a book arguing that a rich-get-richer bias in capitalism needs to be addressed with new policies.