Conn. workers to strike for raise
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 01:08
Connecticut workers, students, and various advocacy groups will join together in Hartford on Thursday to strike for the of fast food workers to increase to $15 an hour and for the right to unionize.
Cities throughout the nation have held strikes since the first one in New York City last November. There are approximately 50 other cities expected to join the cause this Thursday including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Currently the minimum wage in Connecticut is $8.25, and the federal minimum is $7.25. At the federal minimum, a full time employee is making $15,080 a year. For a single worker, this is about $3,000 above the poverty line. For a worker supporting another person, such as a child, this is below the poverty line.
Fast food companies have responded that the industry has much opportunity for advancement, and that many teenage employees are not working to fully support themselves.
A study by the National Employment Law Project showed that, “only 2.2 percent of jobs in the fast food industry are managerial, professional, or technical occupations, compared with 31 percent of jobs in the overall US economy.” This has given strikers evidence that there is not much opportunity for advancement.
According to an NBC News report, teens comprise 16 percent of fast food industry workers.
Both President Barack Obama and Governor Dannel Malloy have said they support a wage increase to $9 an hour. The increase was approved in Connecticut this may and will take effect over the next two years.
Although all American workers are legally allowed to join a union, fast food workers say that those who try to organize are fired or punished.
The industry has traditionally been un-unionized because of the high turnover rate.
The advocacy group, Connecticut Working Families, is organizing Hartford’s strike. It will begin at 6 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. there will be a rally.
A Connecticut student bloc is also being organized on the Facebook page “Connecticut Fast Food Student Bloc.” The page reads “As students in this historic moment, we must mobilize to act in solidarity with workers in our community.”
They will meet at 5:45 a.m. in the Prospect Plaza parking lot on 54 Kane Street in West Hartford for the strike, and at 12:30 p.m. at the Old Statehouse on 800 Main Street in Hartford for the rally.