According to Bloomberg Business, fast food workers across the nation are rallying for higher pay and the right to unionize without retaliation. Rallies organized by the Fight for $15 campaign were held in 236 U.S. cities last week. The campaign seeks McDonald’s Corp. and other fast food chains to raise their minimum wages to $15 and to permit employees to unionize. Campaign organizers said that the rallies drew tens of thousands of workers and were the largest action to date for its movement, which began in November 2012. Prior to these rallies, McDonald’s stated that it would raise wages and offer paid vacations for its full-time employees at its U.S. company-owned stores, which amount to approximately 1,400 stores out of 14,000. Recently, Wal-Mart, Target, and other retailers have begun boosting pay for its minimum wage workers as well.
The Fight for $15 campaign, and the businesses that are paying attention to it, are ahead of the federal government on this issue. Legislative attempts to increase the minimum wage nationwide do not have the support of the House of Representatives or a majority of the Senate. In our view, it is good economic policy for lower wage workers to have more disposable income to spend. A rising tide of wages for lower income workers will lift everyone’s boats.