If you're not aware, yesterday was the largest fast food workers' strike to date. Employees of McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's protested outside of their restaurants and demanded a living wage of $15 an hour. The "Fight for Fifteen" protests have been gaining momentum for a little under a year now, and gained strength when McDonald's released a budget plan that assumed not only that employees would need a second job to survive, but also that childcare and gas are just not things workers need to spend money on. These protests are especially important to women, who make up a large portion of the minimum wage earners in America.
I'd like to think the fight for fifteen is a movement with great momentum, since so many Americans are trying every day to live on so much less than that (myself included). Unfortunately, facebook proved me wrong. Yesterday I spent most of my day fighting with blue collar workers (a mechanic, a TJ Maxx cashier, a rail yard worker and a grocery store employee) about how much these people deserve to make. I know what's happening here. These people have been fed information their entire lives that someone has to be suffering at the bottom for the economy to "work." If everyone makes a living wage, prices will go up and then they run the risk of living at the bottom. They barely make enough to live, but the small bit of power they hold over those who don't make enough is too precious for them to risk. They're afraid. I don't know why I thought I could change anyone's mind. I gave them facts and figures. I asked for their empathy. Nothing worked. It breaks me heart that the poor are still keeping the poor down, instead of fighting together for a better life. Below is our conversation. I'm number 5. (Apologies for the photo editing- I had to do this on a Chromebook which is new to me and not all that easy to navigate. Also, number 6 is talking to her boyfriend, number 1 about posting the status).
I'm still shaken up from hearing people talk this way. There's so much victim blaming (the idea that a McDonald's employee is responsible for the nation's obesity epidemic). There's so little understanding (If you can't afford to live there, move). I know I wasn't being particularly nice, especially at the end, but I felt so helpless. It's the same victim blaming rhetoric over and over again and it needs to stop if we're ever going to make a difference for the poorest Americans. We have to be better than this, but I don't know how we're ever going to get there.
EDIT: If you're unable to view the images here, try this link. Hope it works!