In the News

When failed Republican presidential candidate and multimillionaire asset-stripper Mitt Romney said this week that he supported an increase in the minimum federal wage to US$10.10 ($11.63), as advocated by President Barack Obama, you knew the sounds of discontent from America's growing underclass must have penetrated the hallowed sanctuaries of the very rich. Not that Obama's proposal, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, went anywhere. It was blocked by Senate Republicans last month and the wage remains at US$7.25 an hour.

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Danielle can't afford to give her 3-year-old son gifts on holidays and birthdays. Munira Edens broke her phone three months ago and now goes without one because a repair is too costly. The eldest of six, James Moore tries to help his mother pay household expenses but often can't, because he makes just $150 a week.

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When a city is forced to spend more on Wall Street fees than on basic public services, it is the sign of trouble. When that city is one of America's biggest population centers, it is the sign of a burgeoning crisis.

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On Thursday, the fast-food strikes that have been spreading around the country are going global. Workers at restaurants like Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, and KFC are walking off their jobs in 230 cities around the world to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Strikers will protest in 150 US cities, from New York to Los Angeles, and in 80 foreign cities, from Casablanca to Seoul to Brussels to Buenos Aires.

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On this Mother’s Day congratulations to Arisleyda Tapia, the hardworking mom of 5-year-old Ashley, are in order. And not only because this Dominican immigrant is the mother of a beautiful little girl, but because she has courageously joined the fight for justice for herself, and hundreds of thousands of other endlessly exploited fast food workers.

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Fast food workers have held one-day strikes across the United States on different occasions the past few years, but on Thursday, they are taking their operation global. Their demand: a $15-an-hour wage. The strikes will take place in 150 cities across more than 30 countries as part of the 'Fight for Fifteen' movement.

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The New Republic
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On Thursday, fast-food workers around the world will stage an unprecedented protest for fair wages. They will be speaking out against income inequality -- and the world would do well to listen. Income inequality is one of the most destructive forces in the United States today. Minimum-wage workers devastated by the economic crash of 2008 have continued to languish in poverty while the subsequent recovery has sent executive compensation soaring.

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At $9.85 an hour, 25-year-old Terran Lyons supports herself and two kids as a crew trainer at a McDonald’s in Seattle’s university district. That’s a jump from the $9.19 an hour the high school dropout got when she started, and a step above the state’s $9.32 minimum wage. But it’s hardly enough to be self-sufficient. Lyons is on food stamps. She wouldn’t even be able to afford a Big Mac if it weren’t for the 50 percent employee discount.

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On January 1, 2014, Bill de Blasio was sworn in as New York's new mayor on the steps of its city hall. Temperatures were frigid — attendees were handed mugs of hot cider — but spirits were high. De Blasio's campaign had focused on what he called the "Tale of Two Cities": the immense disparities of wealth in New York, which many progressives believed had been ignored for far too long.

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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.