It is encouraging that some movement is occurring in the slow-to-change minimum wage. Protesting fast-food and big-box store workers should be credited with getting their corporate employers to loosen purse strings just a little.
McDonald’s is the latest to join the parade, saying it will boost workers’ pay in 1,500 of its company restaurants in the United States. About 90,000 employees under direct corporate control will see their pay increase at least $1 over the local minimum wage to an average of $9.90 an hour by July 1. The average will rise to more than $10 an hour next year, The New York Times reports. The 750,000 McDonald’s employees at more than 3,100 franchises operating more than 12,500 restaurants will not be affected by the move.
Other corporations that have raised the minimum wage are Target, which this month is increasing the minimum wage for its workers to at least $9 an hour, and Wal-Mart, which this month will boost the minimum wage for its workers to at least $9 an hour and $10 an hour by next February.
The national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, set in 2009. In Missouri the minimum wage is $7.65.
Despite the pay increases, minimum wage workers said it’s not enough and held protests Thursday in Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Madison, Wis.; Memphis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Va.; Miramar, Fla.; New York City, New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; St. Louis; San Diego and Washington state. That’s a lot of picket signs and a lot of workers who’ve crawled from under the deep fat friers.
Kansas City workers joined the national push for a $15 minimum wage with a protest Thursday at the McDonald’s Restaurant at 3741 Broadway.
In addition, the Kansas City Council on Wednesday heard from people, urging that the minimum wage be boosted to a “living wage” to lift workers out of poverty. Often large corporations that only pay the minimum wage, cause workers to have to rely on food stamps and other government assistance to get by.
In essence the government and taxpayers are providing welfare to corporations, which seem quite content to socialize their costs while privatizing their profits. That’s not how capitalism is supposed to work.
The Kansas City proposal introduced by Councilman Jermaine Reed would have the minimum wage increase to $10 an hour, starting Sept. 1, jump to $11.25 on Sept. 1, 2017, and then rise by $1.25 an hour annually, hitting $15 an hour by 2020, The Kansas City Star reports. Seattle and San Francisco are other cities that have approved phased-in minimum wage increases.
A snag for Kansas City may be that Missouri law prevents cities from mandating any level of pay that exceeds the state minimum wage of $7.65. A Kansas City Council committee delayed a vote on the issue for at least a week.