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The Face of the Fast Food Worker's Strike

Working women and mothers are the face of the fast food strikes. Unable to bring their families out of poverty on minimum wage, workers have taken their demands for reasonable pay to the streets.

(Photo Credit: laudu/Flickr)

Fast food workers are demanding $15 per hour and the right to form labor unions without fear of employer retaliation.

Slate reports that women make up two-thirds of the fast food workforce; parents make up one-quarter. Many of those parents are single mothers. Fast food workers, similar to Wal-Mart workers, rely on taxpayer-funded public assistance to get their reasonable needs met.

Raising the minimum wage would shift the burden of supporting workers and their families from the taxpayer to the employer. And yet, many taxpayers complain that fast food workers and their families should not receive more.

Public Opinion

Public opinion seems to be against the low-wage workers. The Post Standard asked its readers, "Is $15 per hour reasonable?"

The handful of representative comments were more negative than positive, and inspired a plethora of new comments on the article. Regardless of whether you think fast food workers should be paid more, people feel strongly and it is a hot debate.

Some feel that fast food work is an entry-level to the workforce job, and only a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Slate made clear that this is no longer the case, and that women and children are living in poverty while the adults toil in the fast food industry.

One person complains that the job he held for 11 years required education but paid under $10 per hour. This argument represents the value that "I get mine before you get yours." Low-wage workers in different industries could help themselves by helping each other; if minimum wage goes up, it goes up for everybody.

The majority of the naysayers either argue that fast food will become too expensive, or simply that fast food workers do not deserve a living wage. Cost of a Burger explores the reality behind the unreasonable panic that a fast food meal will cost $20.

The Myth of Meritocracy

Meritocracy is the belief that if you work hard and are a good person, then you will do well. Therefore, if you are poor it is your own fault. Because hard workers do well for themselves and their families, poor people must be lazy. When poor people have children, those who believe in meritocracy tend to refuse them any help.

Of course, the myth of meritocracy is not true. You can work two jobs today at minimum wage and still not be able to lift your family out of poverty. If minimum wage were a living wage, then those who work would be able to do well for themselves and their children.

Tell Us What You Think

Should fast food workers have their demands me? Leave us a comment or join the conversation on Twitter.

More from PayScale

Cost of a Burger

Low Pay Is Not Okay

Low Wages Affect Us All, Especially Children

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