Tag Archives: Strike

Wherein Pino Is Fine With A Worker’s Strike


I’m harsh on labor unions.  In today’s world – and for much of the time I’ve been alive, labor unions have been the scourge of life.  Nothing but sucking the productive forces of our economy and lining their pockets off the backs of the workers.

Actions truly worth protest march.

Anyway, today there is a semi-nationwide strike:

Workers at the nation’s best known fast-food restaurants in seven cities across America are planning to walk off the job Monday to protest what they say are wages that are too low to live on. In a move orchestrated with the help of powerful labor unions and clergy groups, the workers plan to strike for a day to demand their wages be doubled.

The Washington Post reports that the protests will take place in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, Mich., involving workers at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Some employees at stores including Dollar Tree, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret are also expected to join the protesters in several cities.

The workers are calling for wages of $15 per hour, more than double New York’s current minimum wage of $7.25.

As far as I can tell, these workers are not represented and actually could be fired if their employer so desired.

THAT is the type of labor protest that I can respect!

I remember, years ago, working in a catering gig when the boss, a reasonable man, offered me a promotion running a cafeteria at a local community college.  WAY more responsibility and work, staff and everything.  When I asked what my raise would be he said, “There wouldn’t be a raise, just the opportunity.”

Knowing that my field of choice was not going to be in the food industry I declined claiming that the money didn’t justify the effort.  He mentioned that he could just change my assignment and force me to report to my new job Monday.  I told him that he could, but that he wouldn’t want to have to train me and then my replacement in a matter of 6 weeks.

So I GET the fact that people don’t wanna work for less money than they feel they ought to.  And I think that they SHOULD walk out if they feel strongly enough.

Good for these guys and gals.

What I oppose is the racket that is the union basically legislating rules that tip the balance in their favor.

However, the grievances these guys make are less than compelling:

“A lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work,” Fast Food Forward director Jonathan Westin told CBS New York. “The workers are striking over the fact that they can’t continue to maintain their families on the wages they’re being paid in the fast-food industry.”

Simple fact – these jobs are not meant to support families.

Robert Wilson, Jr., a 25-year-old McDonald’s employee in Chicago, told The Washington Post that he makes $8.60 an hour after seven years on the job. A previous walkout in April led to “small victories,” he said, including additional hours and slight raises.

Simple fact – These jobs are not meant to be stayed at for 7 years.

The truth is that these jobs are meant to be entry level low paid gigs that, in addition to paying money for baseball cards and skateboards, teach young people work ethic, job skills and interpersonal skills.

These jobs are MEANT to be worked for a year or 3 while in school and then left for greener pastures.  These employees are being underpaid, they are overstaying.

Thoughts On Chicago Teacher Strike

Teachers Walk Out On Strike!

The emotions of a strike are sure to supersede the rational negotiations.  However, this struck me as interesting:

Lewis said among the issues of concern was a new evaluation that she said would be unfair to teachers because it relied too heavily on students’ standardized test scores and does not take into account external factors that affect performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness.

I’ve often encountered this line of reasoning when discussing teacher evaluations.  First, I find it unfathomable that an educated group of experts who routinely adjudicate proficiency of very subjective materials find it completely out of the realm of possibility to measure the effectiveness of teachers themselves.  Second, if they are unwilling to allow themselves to be measured on their effectiveness based on poverty, violence and homelessness, can we expect them to adjust grades so that such impacts are taken into account?

For example, I’ve heard that teachers won’t accept performance based measurements because, “a dog may be barking during the test.”  Yet, are these same teachers willing to change the test scores of those kids subjected to the barking dog?

Utter nonsense.