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"I'm not really living I'm surviving," says Cornley, who plans to take part in worker demonstrations Thursday instead of showing up for his shift.
Cornley rents a two bedroom house for $475 a month. "I struggle to pay all my bills at one time," he says.
"For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar, even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes," he said. Obama has called for raising the federal Nike Football Boots Turf minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, but the measure has stalled in Congress.
Nancy Salgado, 26, of Chicago, earns $8.25 an hour, Illinois' minimum wage, as a McDonald's cashier, though she has worked for the company for 10 years. Salgado, who has no health benefits, says she relies on Medicaid to provide her two children health care and often skimps on their clothing purchases.
The Army war veteran each month receives $1,000 in medical disability and $46 in food stamps. "These are the jobs that are out there fast food jobs," he says. "I could be in this industry for quite a long time and if I am I'd like to make a living wage."
by Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Jobs paying less than $14 an hour in fast food, retail, home health care and other fields made up one of every five jobs lost in the recession, but Football Boots Golden
"People are spending large chunks of their careers in these jobs," Sonn says.
they account for three of every five new jobs in the recovery, according to NELP.
Morris Cornley, 57, began working as a delivery driver at a Jimmy John's gourmet sandwich outlet in Kansas City, Mo., early last year after he was laid off from his $45,000 a year truck driving job. He earns $7.35 an hour and works about 33 hours a week, taking home $370 or so every two weeks after taxes.
In the pre Labor Day walkout, workers in at least 58 cities will picket restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King and KFC during peak lunch hours, calling for $15 an hour pay and the right to form a union without fear of retaliation. The event is also intended to roughly coincide with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, a protest as much about economic justice as civil rights.
At a ceremony Wednesday commemorating the march, President Obama said that many of its goals have been achieved but not economic opportunity for all Americans.
Yet the pay is meager. In fast food, the average hourly wage for non management employees was $9.08 in June or $18,886 a year for full time workers up from $8.66 when the recovery began in June 2009. workers continues to outstrip employer demand, leaving wages stagnant for most Americans. Inflation adjusted wages for front line fast food jobs, most of which are considered low skill, have fallen sharply: 3.9%.
Fast food employees plan a day of nationwide strikes today to demand higher pay in the largest of a series of industry protests that have rippled across the USA since last fall.
Many of them are held by adults, some of whom were laid off from much better paying positions during the recession. Eighty eight percent of workers in jobs paying less than $10 an hour are older than 20, and a third are older than 40, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Although the SEIU has provided advice and support to the fast food protests, it has not led them. The votes likely would fail, forcing the SEIU to cease its involvement altogether.
In a statement, McDonald's said it "aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees" and provides training for those wishing to advance to management.
"Just like auto jobs became good middle class jobs at the turn of the century, we want to be a part of helping service work become an entry point into a new American middle class," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry says.
The frustrations of financially pressed Americans have sparked a movement to rally workers in fast food and other industries long insulated from union influence, including Wal Mart stores, car washes, and port trucking companies. They are often workplaces reliant on temporary, part time, or immigrant employees who traditionally have been difficult to organize, and owned by powerful corporations that have vigorously discouraged union efforts.
"There's absolutely a new wave of organizing action among low wage workers across the nation," says Paul Sonn, legal co director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP). "In the past, there was a sense it was hard to organize these low wage industries. Now they've become the centerpiece of our economy."
more adults find themselves aging inpositions that used to be career stepping stones for teenagers. The trend has strained the nation's social safety net: More than a quarter of Americans earning less than $15 an hour receive one or more social services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, says the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Nearly 48 million people receive food stamps, more than in any year of the 2007 09 recession.
Persistently low wages for millions of Americans also dampens consumer spending and economic Football Boots Size 8
The fast food worker movement began with a strike by 200 workers in New York City last November, and then spread to Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Seattle, Kansas City and Flint, Mich. The walkouts have been spearheaded by local community groups and churches, and backed with millions of dollars from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Low wage workers across the country are clocking out and rising up.
Meanwhile, states and cities are responding to the public pressure. Thirteen states and several cities have raised the minimum wage this year. And last year in California, Long Beach voters passed a measure requiring $13 an hour pay for hotel workers. corporations, however, say that forcing them to raise wages will mean fewer jobs and higher prices, hurting those with lower incomes in particular.
growth, economists say.
Labor officials are adopting innovative new strategies to unite workers in less formal ways while painstakingly building a wider base of potential union members. Their push comes as the portion of Americans belonging to unions has fallen sharply to 11.5% from 25% in 1980.
paid workers are marching for equality
"If they give you a raise, it's like 10 cents" an hour, she says. "I'm like, 'Really You guys make millions and billions a year."
The wave of fast food demonstrations comes as low wage jobs dominate employment growth in the 4 year old recovery, and as Football Boots Polaris
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