The Fast Food Race To The Bottom

I worked fast food restaurants when I was young. I learned fast about exploitation and low wages, stress and pressure at minimum wage. In average, 20 percent of front-line fast-food workers were living in households with incomes below the poverty line over the years that the researchers studied. fast food workers across the country have for months been staging protests and walkouts over low wages. Many would like to see wages raised to $15 an hour.  

The median wage for the workers in the report was $8.69 an hour, and the workers were employed for a median of 30 hours a week. The figures are in 2011 dollars.When fast-food workers staged protests this summer to demand the federal minimum wage be raised from $7.25 to $15 an hour, even sympathetic observers were not optimistic about the prospects. There seems to be a ready supply of people who will work for low wages.  Rep. Elizabeth Warren suggest the there should be a living wage of $22.00 an hour.

About 19% of fast food workers claim Medicaid and 24% claim food stamps. A quarter of fast food workers living in poverty is troubling though not surprising when you consider that 41% of the workers in their sample work under 30 hours a week and 27% are younger than 23 and live with their parents. A more telling statistic would be the percentage of fast food workers who are working full-time, over age 25 and entitled to poverty assistance (food stamps or Medicaid), but that statistic is noticeably absent.

. Two studies released today make some different calculations to determine the total cost to American taxpayers of a large, low-wage workforce. It comes to an average of $7 billion a year. That’s the amount of annual public assistance families of fast-food workers received between 2007 and 2011.

The fight against Slave Labor is the essence of socialism. Slave Labor has always been with us. People forced into difficult, mindless, mind numbing low paying jobs to enhance the profits of the wealthy. The Garment industry and factories where huge proponents of slave labor, and so is the service sector, with the absence of manufacturing jobs, people who cannot better themselves are stuck in low paying meaningless work.

 The Term “exploitation” often conjures up images of workers laboring in sweatshops for 12 hours or more per day, for pennies an hour, driven by a merciless overseer. This is contrasted to the ideal of a “fair wage day’s wage for a fair day’s work”–the supposedly “normal” situation under capitalism in which workers receive a decent wage, enough for a “middle class” standard of living, health insurance and security in their retirement.
Sweatshops are horrific examples of exploitation that persist to this day. But Karl Marx had a broader and more scientific definition of exploitation: the forced appropriation of the unpaid labor of workers. Under this definition, all working-class people are exploited.
Labor, on the other hand, is the actual process of work itself. Like the buyer of any commodity, the capitalist claims the right to consume the commodity they purchase. In this case, the consumption of labor-power consists of the control of the labor process and the ownership of the products workers create during it.
All people are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights of which they cannot deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
The contradiction between the claim that “all men are created equal” and the existence of American slavery attracted comment when the Declaration of Independence was first published. Before final approval, Congress, having made a few alterations to some of the wording, also deleted nearly a fourth of the draft, including a passage critical of the slave trade. At that time many members of Congress, including Jefferson, owned slaves, which clearly factored into their decision to delete the controversial “anti-slavery” passage. In 1776, abolitionist Thomas Day responding to the hypocrisy in the Declaration wrote, though the first draft stated ” All free men are created equal”:
One congress women called the problem of poverty with the fast food issue, the feminisation of poverty. This is ridiculous since poverty effect people across the board. The Left has paid too much attention to gender and race issues. The American Labor Party is an equality party that acknowledges all people suffer and we must issue a culture of solidarity.


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