Monday, August 12, 2013

Is $15 an Hour a Fair Wage for Serving Fast Food?

 12 August 2013  
 Salvatore Babones,  
(Photo: <a href="" target="_blank"> Steve Rhodes / Flickr</a>)(Photo: Steve Rhodes / Flickr).

Fast food workers went on strike last week in several major cities, including New York. The strike was a bigger version of the November 2012 fast food strikes covered by Sarah Jaffe for Truthout. Fast food workers also struck four months ago in April.

The strikers are demanding a raise from minimum wage - or close to it - to $15 an hour. The federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour. In New York the state minimum wage will rise to $8 an hour on January 1, 2014.

That's still a long way from the $15 an hour demanded by striking workers. In fact, the median hourly wage among all hourly wage-earners in the country is $12.71 an hour only, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Is $15 an hour really a fair wage for serving fast food? Is it reasonable? Is it affordable? In a word: YES.
To read more articles by Salvatore Babones and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here

When the various US federal minimum laws were harmonized in 1978, the uniform federal minimum wage was set at $2.65 an hour. Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of $9.49 today, according to the BLS online inflation calculator.

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