Johann Wagener 12-05-13
These $7.25 an hour workers have nothing to lose by protesting their working conditions. They already qualify and collect welfare, food stamps, and healthcare because of the slave labor wages they are paid by some of the largest and wealthiest corporations in the world.
These corporate oligarchs complain that if they were to pay employees a "living wage" they would have to pass the cost on to shoppers and raise prices rather than lower their profits.
Let the American shopper decide; higher prices? or Lower profits?
The six Waltons on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans have a net worth of $144.7 billion. This fiscal year three Waltons—Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control)—will receive an estimated $3.1 billion in Walmart dividends from their majority stake in the company.
The Waltons aren’t just the face of the 1%; they’re the face of the 0.000001%. The Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined.
Why does all of this matter? While the Waltons are building billion-dollar museums, driving million-dollar cars, and jumping between vacation homes, Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, is paying its associates an average of $8.81 an hour. The Waltons make billions a year off of a company most of them don’t even work for, while Walmart associates struggle for respect on the job and enough pay to make ends meet.
“We Can’t Survive on $7.25”: Fast Food Workers Kick Off National Day of Action for Higher Pay
The federal minimum wage – which many fast food and retail outlets pay employees – is $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work. That rate was set in a 2009 measure that increased the minimum wage but still left it, in real terms, at the same rate as when Harry Truman was in office – a fact Obama mentioned in his speech on Wednesday.
In Chicago, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a McDonalds at 6.15am. As a large "Christmas Grinch" ambled about in freezing temperatures, demonstrators chanted for the minimum wage to be increased to $15 per hour.
It was the first of nine strikes in Chicago, with employees at McDonalds, Wendy's, Walgreens, Macy's and Sears also due to walk off shift. Low wage workers were due to strike across 100 cities through the day, including Boston, Detroit, New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles and St Louis.
"To put it in perspective, yesterday I got paid, today I have not a dollar in my pocket," said Akilarose Thompson, 24.