This past weekend, over 1,200 fast food workers gathered together to coordinate their efforts for increased pressure on raising the minimum wage. The conference, which was held in Chicago, was attended by low wage workers that have worked for companies, some over a decade, but have seen very little to no increase in their wages. One of these workers, Cherri Delisline, a single mother who earns $7.35 an hour after 10 years as a McDonald’s cashier in North Charleston, S.C. said “I get paid so little money that it’s hard to make ends meet, and I’ve had to move back in with my mother.”
The actions by these fearless workers have paid great dividends so far. In their most recent strike in mid-May, workers walked out at restaurants in 150 cities nationwide, with solidarity protests held in 30 countries. They cite these efforts as key factors in the passage of a bill in Seattle that would raise the wage to $15 an hour, as well as similar bills that will be introduced in Chicago and San Francisco. These movements have not come without their fair share of opposition – business groups all over the country oppose this. However, these are the same companies, like McDonalds, whose CEOs makes double in one day what the average employee does annually. In order for families to be able to build wealth and have access to opportunities like higher education and generational wealth building, they must share in the gains produced by their productivity. If everyone works hard for the profits, but only a select few at the top reap the rewards, the cycle cannot be sustained, nor is it equitable. Nothing less than a fair and living wage is acceptable for those who dedicate themselves to their work.