Will The Biggest Minimum Wage Strike In American History Move Congress?

September 05, 2014: How much more time does Congress need?

Wage Strike

Fast-food workers across the country took to the streets this week in more than 150 cities to get the federal minimum wage raised to $15 an hour.

The protests were planned to be – according to New York Times reports – the biggest wage-related strikes in American history and involve at least a dozen sit-ins to show their commitment to the growing “fight for $15."

A number of demonstrators were arrested after workers reportedly attempted to block traffic in and out of retail locations in cities including New York, Chicago and Detroit.

Although the intermittent protests – spearheaded and funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – have been going on for about two years, not much has been done by Congress to solve the matter.

President Barack Obama, though, took executive action in February this year to institute a minimum wage increase from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. But this was limited to “new” federal contracts.

However, the Senate voted against a bill two months later that demanded the same hike for existing contracts.

READ MORE: Fast Food Workers Launch Strike For A Living Wage, Demand Minimum Wage Of $15 An Hour

At this time, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, the same level since 2009. The amount is equal to about $15,000 a year if they work full time.

Obama also addressed the issue at an event in Milwaukee on Labor Day, saying workers were justified in their demands.

“There's a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity,” he said.

“If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, I'd join a union," he added, in an attempt to move Congress into action on the file.

"There is no denying a simple truth: America deserves a raise,” the US President declared.

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While in the past, supporters have protested by showing up at a McDonald's shareholder meeting and holding strikes, this time around they have planned a peaceful civil disobedience movement.

According to latest reports, “436 people nationwide have been arrested with more than 43 arrests in Detroit, 19 in New York City, 23 in Chicago, 10 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and 10 in Las Vegas.”

Here are some images from the sit-ins:




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