Last week, fast food workers in 60 cities across the nation struck for higher wages and the right to unionize without retaliation. The strikes -- a quarter of which were on the West Coast -- are the culmination of previous work stoppages that started in New York last November.
Fast food workers have good reasons to protest.
Most fast food workers are paid poverty-level wages: 13 percent are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 or less; 83 percent earn less than $10 per hour or less; 27 percent have at least one child.
Most fast food workers are older and better educated than industry representatives would have us believe. A majority are adults over 21, and have at least a high school diploma.
But their opportunities for advancement are extremely limited. Industry groups protray low-paid positions as stepping-stones to management. But front-line occupations comprise more than 89 percent of the jobs. For most employees, advancement is unlikely and owning a franchise is a pipe dream.