Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 5.15.14 - Fast Food Nation asks for a raise

Posted By on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM

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Fast-food workers in Tampa and across the world are staging walk-out strikes today, demanding they be paid a living wage of $15 an hour.

That's significantly more than what the proposed increase of $10.10 an hour for the minimum wage that President Obama and Democrats have been calling on Republican to support, an issue that has caused somewhat of a fissure amongst Republicans. While high profile national Republican like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum all support raising the the current federal rate of $7.25 an hour. But in the Tampa Bay area, D.C. Representatives David Jolly, Dennis Ross and Gus Bilirakis differ, in some cases substantially, from their GOP brethren on the issue. 

But as CL's Meaghan Habuda reports, these fast-food workers currently make not much more than the minimum - an average of around $8.81 an hour.

Of course, that's substantially more than what tipped workers make in Florida and around the country -an outrageous $4.91 an hour in the Sunshine State. Nationally it's even worse, at a measly $2.13 an hour. In the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, sponsored by Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (and endorsed by President Obama) the bill would gradually raise tipped workers' minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

But back to today's actions. It's certainly an important day for organized labor, who have not had a lot of successes in recent years. On an organizational level, if the S.E.I.U. is able to have 150 actions across the country today, that's significant in putting the issue front and center on the national conversation. But it's also fair to question (as some economists are in today's NY Times), how realistic is a jump from $8.80 an hour to $15.00 an hour? Think about it - the most progressive city in the U.S. these days, Seattle, is still working on that proposal that's going much slower than some activists prefer...

Meanwhile in other news..
Conspiracy theorists and others who have questioned what happened nearly a year ago when an FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen-American who was friends with Boston Marathon suspect have a whole lot of new material to work with after the Boston Globe reported that that FBI agent was the definition of a rogue cop years before the agency hired him years ago.

A new web ad from a Democratic based super PAC bashes RIck Scott for failing to answer certain questions at press availabilities. One Tallahassee reporter I saw tweet yesterday that both Scott and Charlie Crist are equally elusive when trying to avoid tough questions. Not really.

And one of the big successes in the local craft brewing industry, Ybor City's Tampa Bay Brewing Company, is adding a second, larger location near the Hillsborough/Pinellas border along Hillsborough Avenue.

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