The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also said it would be open to negotiating a raise in the hourly minimum wage. In January, Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, told Politico that the Chamber wouldn’t back a raise up to $15, however, noting, “If it’s going to be done, it’s going to need to be paired with relief for small businesses.”
Mind you, the battle for employees to receive fair (if not actually livable) wages from the fast-food corporation has been a long one. You might remember the ongoing Fight for $15 movement, in which union leaders have spent literal years providing litigation resources, demonstrations, and strikes on behalf of employees.
Perhaps the action that received the most attention was back in 2012, when 200 fast-food workers walked out of their shifts in New York City. Their demands were simple: union protections and, yes, a $15-an-hour wage.
And don’t let stigmas fool you. Most people who work in fast food are not teenagers (though even if they were, they’d still deserve a fair wage), and are in fact between 25 and 54 years old. More than half of the people who work in fast food need government assistance to survive. In the restaurant industry more broadly, 40 percent of workers live in poverty.
And for people who are already marginalized, these low wages, high-stress environments, and lack of protections can feed into a cycle of economic distress and instability. It’s impossible to get ahead if you’re being drained by a job that doesn’t allow you to live.
Of this recent development from McDonald’s, Terrence Wise of Fight for $15 said in a statement, “McDonald’s decision to no longer use its power, influence and deep pockets to block minimum wage increases shows the power workers have when we join together, speak out, and go on strike.”
Here is the letter from McDonald’s:
Many on Twitter are celebrating the move:
A living wage should be the bare minimum. Slowly but surely, we seem to be getting there.