Story at a glance

  • Fast food workers across the country went on strike on Feb. 16 for a $15 minimum wage and better working conditions.
  • Organized by Fight For 15, the strike was also a protest in honor of Black History Month.
  • The Biden administration has signaled their support for raising the minimum wage but faces opposition in Congress.

Fast-food workers became essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, called to work despite the risk of COVID-19. Now, they’re demanding to be paid as such.

On Tuesday, workers in 15 cities banded together and went on strike for a $15 minimum wage and better working conditions in honor of Black History Month. Organized by Fight For 15, a global movement that began in New York in 2012, workers picketed in front of McDonald's restaurants and other businesses to demand an increase in the minimum wage. 


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During a presidential town hall on CNN last night, President Biden reaffirmed his support for a $15 minimum wage, saying, "I do support a $15 minimum wage. I think there is equally as much if not more evidence to dictate that it would grow the economy and, in the long-run and medium run, benefit small business and large businesses."


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Lawmakers have yet to bring legislation raising the minimum wage to the floor of Congress, but they are facing increased pressure amid economic recovery efforts. The leaders of two major labor unions sent a letter to lawmakers, according to reporting by Politico, in support of a proposal from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I).

“Raising the minimum wage and eliminating the subminimum tipped wage is an urgent and necessary first step to helping the nation recover from COVID-19, growing the economy and lifting up communities across the country,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in a letter to lawmakers, according to Politico. “Nearly 60 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. and labor leaders insisted the agenda of the March on Washington include a $2/hr minimum wage, which today would equal $15/hr. We didn’t fulfill that promise then, we must fulfill it now.”


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Published on Feb 17, 2021