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The lingering Minimum Wage debate

February 3, 2018

In 100 U.S. cities many people carried signs and protested against the minimum wage pay of $7.25 for fast food restaurants. These fast food restaurants that were affected by the strike were, Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Sonic Drive- in, Jack in the Box, and Papa John’s Pizza. As they protested they sang “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way it’s no fun, to survive, on low low low low pay”. In New York City and Detroit, hundreds of workers and protesters were striking against their minimum pay. These one- day strikes were mainly planned at fast food restaurants in 100 U.S. cities and were fighting to increase the minimum wage on Thursday December 5, 2013. The cities are protesting “Fight for 15” meaning a $15 minimum wage. A man named Arun Gupta, who is the founding editor of the Occupy Wall Street Journal, says “he is encouraged by the nationwide effort but isn't expecting major changes”. Obama was trying to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. In this article Fast-food workers strike, protest for higher pay by John Bacon it states that “Obama noted that the American economy had double in size since 1979, but most of that growth has been restricted to a “fortunate few”. The problem with this is that the price on fast food is low and cheap so it is difficult to raise the minimum wage prices. This year California, Connecticut and Rhode Island raised their minimum wages. Last month, in New Jersey minimum wage increased from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour A city of SeaTac, Washington, had there minimum wage increased to $15 per hour. Also in this article it states that  “Labor Secretary Tom Perez weighed in on the side of the protesters this week in his blog: "To reward work, to grow the middle class and strengthen the economy, to give millions of Americans the respect they deserve — it's time to raise the minimum wage”.(John Bacon).

 

 

The Flint, Michigan sit-down strike of 1937 started on December 30, 1936 and was known as “the strike heard round the world”. The strike mainly involved the autoworkers and they were striking because they wanted to win recognition of the United Auto Workers (UAW). The autoworkers did not want to have the work to be done outside of their plant, this way creating more jobs for the GM workers. They also wanted to establish a fair minimum wage and have a procedure that will help assembly line workers and protect them from injuries. These strikes lasted about 44 days. A similar strike to this spread to Europe because they were having similar issues. It did not start spontaneously because people were planning this strike for months. In this article Sit down strike begins in Flint, it states that “The Flint plant was the biggest coup, however: it contained one of just two sets of body dies that GM used to stamp out almost every one of its 1937 cars. By seizing control of the flint plant, autoworkers could shut down the company almost entirely. So, on the evening of December 30, the Flint Plants night shift simply stopped working. They locked themselves in and sat down. “She’s ours”! One worker shouted.” The GM had said that they people who are striking were trespassing and demanded their evacuation. They figured if they turned the heat off in the buildings so that the strikers wouldn’t be able to resist the cold and decide to leave. But instead of leaving, the strikers warmed themselves with coats and blankets and continued to strike. Then on January 11 the police tried to cut the strikers supply of food which ended in a riot. 16 workers were and 11 policemen were injured. Then, on February 1, the UAW won and had control over the big Chevrolet No. 4 engine factory. The output went from 50,000 robust cars in December to 125 in February. 

 

Both these strikes were kind of similar but also very different. The point was to change something and in order to do that you try to stand out to the government and make a point. In the first strike, for Fast Food workers in 100 U.S. cities, it only lasted one day. The strike ended on a good note for few, some minimum wages went up at least $1.00, and only in SeaTac Washington, it raised to the demanding price of $15 an hour for minimum wage. The strike for Flint, Michigan sit-down strike of 1937 was different because they were losing their jobs and tried to save it by staying inside their company. Although the police tried to get them out, the stayed striking for 44 days unlike the Fast Food minimum wage strike which only lasted one day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Sources:                                                                                                                  

Bacon, John. "Fast-food Workers Strike, Protest for Higher Pay." USA Today. Gannett, 05 Dec.  2013. 

 

Greenhouse, Steven. "Wage Strikes Planned at Fast-Food Outlets." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Dec. 2013.      

 

"Sit-down Strike Begins in Flint." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

 

"The Flint, Michigan, Sit-Down Strike (1936-37)." The Flint, Michigan, Sit-Down Strike: This Month in Business History (Business Reference Services, Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web.                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                            

 

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