The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, 1.6 million workers earned “exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and about 2.0 million had wages below the federal minimum,” making up about 4.7 percent of all hourly-paid workers.
While this may be decent wage for high school students looking to earn extra cash for movie tickets, or spending money for the mall, this is not a decent wage for a single person trying to support him or herself financially, much less a person trying to support a family.
Fast-food workers have decided enough is enough, and they rightly deserve more than the current minimum wage.
Some took advantage of Labor Day and protested with a one-day strike for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour. This increase would raise a full-time worker’s yearly income from $15,000 to $31,200.
Even $31,200 per year would still leave a minimum wage salary below the current national median of about $50,000, according to the U.S. Department of Numbers.
The strikers were not asking for too much.
While they are working at the bottom of the workforce, it does not mean they should have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. In reality, the minimum wage fast-food workers are the ones doing a job no one desires, but many customers have no problem enjoying the product they supply. The strike is an efficient way to make the workers’ desires known because people will be willing to support an increase in the minimum wage to enjoy the convenience of fast-food again.
It’s easy for anyone in a comfortable high-salary job to look at these strikers and think they are asking for far too much.
If high-salary workers were to give attention to the financial situations and undesirable working conditions they often work in, they may reconsider.
Even most college students could attest to how much a $15-per-hour wage could relieve their financial stress and allow them to finish school with far less debt.
Raising minimum wage has the potential to set hard workers up for a better life. They could begin to put money away to pay for an education to help them move up in the workforce to more highly skilled jobs. The least the government can do is provide these workers with fair pay for sustainable living.