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Scott Wagner & Associates, P.A. Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer
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Fast Food Workers Strike

Over the past year or so, more and more fast food workers are striking. What are they hoping for with their actions? The short answer is that they want the chance to take care of their families in a positive way and they want a higher wage to do it.

Consider a little history. The strike efforts began with a small group of disgruntled workers, about 200, in New York City in November 2012. It grew to 7 cities and thousands of people by July. August boasted 35 cities, and December was touted as having upwards of 100 cities. The most recent, December 5, 2013, marked the latest strike for fast food workers around the country. Florida saw several rallies and a few strikes. According to MS Magazine,this included strikes in Tampa and Temple Terrace along with rallies in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. The initiative gained momentum.

So what is the main issue at hand? Strikers are looking for salary adjustments to as much as $15 per hour. This is over double the national minimum wage of $7.25/hour. According to the US Department of Labor, Florida, with its minimum at $7.93, is one of over 20 states with minimum wages higher than the national law. “Poverty in America” provides a living wage calculator showing Palm Beach County’s average wage for food prep and serving is $8.94. For a perspective, a living wage in West Palm Beach for a single person would be $11.02/hour while a home with 1 parent and 2 children would need more than double that, $26.41/hour.

Traditionally, fast food establishments employed mostly teenagers who weren’t supporting a family but those numbers are changing. According to an article from Time, Business & Money, “Low pay for fast-food workers is nothing new, but a tough job market following the recession has led to more positions behind the cash register being occupied by family breadwinners instead of teenagers.”

Minimum wage is not something that is negotiated between an employer and employee, yet it is important to know what the laws are in your area. If you have any questions as an employer or employee about fair wages, contact Scott • Wagner and Associates.

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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