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Industry Unrest in US – Fast Food Employees Uprising

Updated : February 12th, 2021

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Fast food employees in Chicago

Slow & steady, from New York to several Midwestern cities, thousands of fast-food personnel have been holding one-day strikes during peak meal times, quickly drawing national attention to their demands for higher wages.
Their chief demand is for a hike in hourly wage to $15 in times of surge in cost of living. Contemporary median hourly wage in the fast food industry is $9.05 which seems to be out of sync in gratifying basic amenities.

A Taco Bell worker, Sharise Stitt, 27, joined the strike, saying the $8.09 she earns after five years there was insufficient to support her family. She was evicted from her Detroit apartment and moved her family to her sister’s house in Taylor, Michigan. That means a 45-minute commute each way and a gas bill of $50 every four days. After taxes, she has about $900 a month to feed and clothe her three children. They receive food stamps.

Regrettably, none of the nation’s 200,000-plus fast-food restaurants are unionized.

The strategists know they want to achieve a $15 wage, but they seem to be ad-libbing on ways to get there. Perhaps they will seek to unionize workers at dozens of restaurants, although some labor leaders scoff at that idea because the turnover rate among fast-food employees is about 75 percent a year.

Limited career growth in the Fast Food Industry

Front-line jobs in the fast food industry—including cooks, cashiers, delivery workers, and other non- managerial positions—rank among the lowest-paying occupations in the U.S. economy. In response to growing criticism, industry spokespersons have defended low wages for front-line fast food workers by arguing that these jobs serve as stepping stones to higher-paying managerial positions, as well as opportunities to eventually own and operate a fast food franchise.
These claims, however, are not supported by the facts. Managerial positions account for only a tiny fraction of jobs in the fast food industry, and opportunities for franchise ownership are even fewer. Moreover, the substantial financial resources required to open a fast food franchise make entrepreneurship an unrealistic option for front-line fast food workers earning poverty-level wages.

Occupational composition of fast food industry

Overwhelming Majority of Americans View Minimum Wage Increase as Important Priority for Congress over Next Year

Members of Congress call for passage of Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 after four years without a federal minimum wage increase; rallies planned in over 30 cities across the country to demand higher wages for millions of America’s lowest-paid workers.

As four years pass without an increase in the federal minimum wage, a new poll released finds that 80 percent of Americans – including 62 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Independents – support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and indexing it to the cost of living, as proposed in the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller earlier this year. According to the poll, 74 percent of Americans consider raising the minimum wage to be an important legislative priority for Congress to address over the next year.

As members of Congress, business leaders, and workers gather in Washington on Wednesday to call for immediate passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, thousands of low-wage workers and their supporters in over 30 cities throughout the U.S. will hold rallies at major retail and fast food corporations, as part of a National Day of Action to raise wages for millions of America’s lowest-paid workers.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise the federal minimum wage from the current rate of $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by 2015, and it would provide for annual increases to the rate in future years to keep pace with the rising cost of living, a key reform known as “indexing” that  ten states have already successfully implemented. The bill would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from its current low rate of $2.13 per hour, where it has been frozen since 1991, to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.

Unemployment rate seems to have found a steady decrease in the country but does not reflect the problems faced by workers. More on state unemployment rates here.

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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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