A couple of days ago I wrote about the need for us to all stand up and fight for what is right in this country. We have been far too timid, for far too long, allowing the power elite in our society to run rough shod over us, rob us blind, treat us as subhuman because we were not born to wealth, and then turn around and tell us it is our own fault. Well, a group of workers that our culture has conditioned us to believe are at the bottom of our labor totem pole have stood up and started to push back.
It couldn’t have come too soon. For years we have challenged the dignity of people working in fast food restaurants. Being employed at a McDonald’s, a Wendy’s, or KFC is a mark, in our status and money obsessed society, of shame, almost as much so as being unemployed. You must be a slacker or a fool, our narrative insists, if you are stuck in such work. You must deserve no better. Your value as a human being is maligned by the people who come in to order their food, so of course management is not going to value you worth a damn.
Everyone who works deserves a living wage. It should be common sense, but there are so many who deny it. They hide behind that (incredibly worn out) argument that raising the wages of these “low value” workers will make it harder for these companies to hire people. This ignores the obvious fact that the companies paying these pitiful wages are among the most profitable in the world. If you want to cut some fat, how about taking it off the top. How much do the members of the board of directors of McDonald’s make? I’m pretty sure they could have their salaries cut in half and still live like kings.
These folks have been kicked around for decades. Every time a group of them have tried to stand up, they’ve been knocked right down. Now, they are doing it en masse. Now they finally have a chance to be heard and challenge the notion that they are devoid of worth, despite what others think of them.
I know a lot of people out there will grumble. They will be angry at the inconvenience this is causing them. A few of those will likely spit nasty epithets toward the workers, showcasing just how cruel our culture has become. Many of us though, are fed up with those who feed us being treated like dirt, left to beg for scraps from the state even though they are fully employed. The truly decent in this country will stand by these guys, and support their efforts by boycotting these companies in places where there is no strike. It is said that the measure of a people is taken by how they treat the “least” among them. How will we let ourselves be measured in this fight for those who have been treated as the least among us for so long?
- NYC fast food workers picket for higher pay (cnsnews.com)
- “We Deserve Better”: Striking NYC Fast Food Workers Demand Higher Pay (commondreams.org)
- New York KFC, McDonald’s workers to strike (money.cnn.com)
- City Room: Fast-Food Workers Walk Off the Job (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)