By Doug Porter
It’s no longer about just fast food; the movement for a fifteen dollar an hour wage is expanding to embrace low-wage workers everywhere, along with the larger questions of inequality.
Everywhere includes San Diego, where organizers are planning a full day of actions. Fast food workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s , Subway, Sonic, and Taco Bell will be taking a ‘day off.’ Security guards and janitors will participate in a mid-day downtown protest against an-as-yet-unnamed “bad employer.”
A community-based demonstration is planned for City Heights starting at 1:30 calling attention to the need to decriminalize the poor in addition to the pay demands. At 3pm a bus will leave from the Rosa Parks Park and Performance Annex headed for a city-wide convergence on the San Diego State University campus (map) starting at 4pm.
The rally at SDSU will include support for rolling back student fees and the start of a unionization drive of the 3000 low wage employees of the campus Aztec Shops. (More info)
Kendall Fells, organizing director for Fight for $15, told the Associated Press protests are planned for April 15th to include about 170 college campuses, as well as cities around the country. The organizing effort is being actively supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
This morning UT-San Diego posted the AP story online:
Fells, an SEIU employee, said April 15 was picked for the next day of actions because workers are fighting “for fifteen.”
“It’s a little play on words,” he said.
Fells noted that while the push began as a fast-food worker movement, it has morphed into a low-wage worker movement and is now shifting into a social movement with the involvement of “Black Lives Matter” groups joining in the April protests. Still, he said McDonald’s Corp. remained a primary target.
Today’s New York Times includes a big write-up on the Fight for Fifteen movement:
On the campaign’s first day of strikes two and a half years ago, 200 fast-food workers walked out in just one city, New York. But in the wave of actions on April 15, organizers say more than 60,000 people will join strikes and protests in 200 cities nationwide. They also predict there will be strikes and support actions in 35 other countries.
Organizers say they expect 10,000 people at the Fight for 15 protests in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, with many college and high school students joining the actions. They chose April 15 because the date, 4/15, sounds like “for 15.”
“When we started it was very hard to get people to sign up — they were scared, ‘I might lose my job,’ ” said Ms. Brooks, who became a fast-food worker after funding for her job as a youth counselor was eliminated. “But this movement is really growing. People who didn’t know who we were, they now know who we are.”
Fortune Magazine notes that child care workers are also now part of the protest movement:
When the Fight for $15 stages its next protests on April 15, child care workers are expected to demonstrate alongside the home care workers and airport workers who have joined the campaign since its launch.
Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which backs the Fight for $15, told Fortune that child care workers protesting alongside fast-food workers illustrates a dual crisis: underpaid working parents are struggling to pay for child care and those who care for others’ children are struggling to take care of their own.
Child care workers in the U.S. earn median pay of $9.38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is comparable with the earnings of food preparation workers—$9.28 per hour—and retail sales employees—$10.29 per hour—and is especially measly when weighed against child care workers’ role in early childhood education.
Another Consequence of Inequality:
Brain Developmental Differences
Republicans in Congress have approved their latest attempt at budget creation, which involves the usual: cutting services, increasing military spending and more tax breaks for the wealthy.
Meanwhile, Science Magazine has posted a story about the very real consequences of their economic agenda:
Stark and rising inequality plagues many countries, including the United States, and politicians, economists, and—fortunately—scientists, are debating its causes and solutions. But inequality’s effects may go beyond simple access to opportunity: a new study finds that family differences in income and education are directly correlated with brain size in developing children and adolescents. The findings could have important policy implications and provide new arguments for early antipoverty interventions, researchers say.
Researchers have long known that children from families with higher socioeconomic status do better on a number of cognitive measures, including IQ scores, reading and language batteries, and tests of so-called executive function—the ability to focus attention on a task. More recently, some studies have found that key brain areas in children of higher socioeconomic status—such as those involved in memory or language—tend to be either larger in volume, more developed, or both. However, these studies have suffered from some important limitations: For one thing, they don’t adequately distinguish socioeconomic status from racial background, which in the United States are difficult to tease apart because nonwhite groups tend to have higher poverty levels. And few studies treat family income and education levels as independent factors, even though they can act differently on the child’s developing brain. For example, income may be a better indicator of the material resources (such as healthy food and medical care) available to a child, whereas more highly educated parents may be better able to stimulate their child’s intellectual development.
To get around some of these limitations, a research team scanned the brains of 1099 children and young adults, ranging from 3 to 20 years old, using MRI. The researchers, led by Kimberly Noble of Columbia University and Elizabeth Sowell of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in California, both cognitive neuroscientists specializing in child development, recruited subjects in collaboration with researchers at nine U.S. universities and hospitals, using Internet and community advertising as well as word of mouth.
The Latest on Indiana’s Non-Discrimination Discrimination Law
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence held a press conference this morning, attempting to continue the charade of he and his fellow bigots being victims.
From Huffington Post:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Tuesday he will back an amendment to the state’s new “religious freedom” law clarifying that it does not allow businesses to deny service to anyone, and insisted that he never intended to discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“That is so offensive to me as a Hoosier,” Pence said during a press conference in Indianapolis, casting himself, the GOP-controlled General Assembly and the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act as victims of “mischaracterizations” perpetrated by the media and the law’s opponents.
“I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate, or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state. And it certainly wasn’t my intent,” he added. “But I can appreciate that that’s become the impression — not just here in Indiana, but all across this country. And we need to confront that.”
The governor apparently doesn’t remember the three lobbyists with a history of anti-gay activities standing right behind him smiling as he signed the bill. Or the letter from 30 legal experts warning him of its consequences.
Gov. Pence has a history of not being able to see what’s right in front of him.
“Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.”
Here in San Diego, City Councilman Todd Gloria called upon Mayor Faulconer on Monday afternoon for an administrative order prohibiting City of San Diego employees from using public funds for travel to the state of Indiana “until this discriminatory law is amended or repealed.”
The mayor initially responded with a statement via twitter about how he was against discrimination and the law in question.
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 31, 2015
By Tuesday morning that position had morphed into “The Mayor’s office has directed action to restrict publicly funded travel by city employees to Indiana if law isn’t amended/repealed by next week.”
Anti-Gay Legislation: 85 Bills in 28 States Pending
Lest you think the Indiana legislation was an outlier…
From the Guardian:
LGBT and civil rights groups are mobilising for a nationwide battle to safeguard the gains of the marriage equality movement, in the face of a gathering backlash that is spreading anti-gay bills across the country.
Republican-controlled legislatures have introduced more than 85 anti-gay bills in 28 separate states, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT-rights advocacy group in the US. New laws targeting gay couples have been passed in Indiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, with many other states attempting to follow suit.
On Monday, Apple’s openly gay chief executive, Tim Cook, sounded the alarm about the rash of new laws, which he described as contrary to America’s founding principles of freedom and equality. He likened the anti-gay surge across state assemblies to “whites only” signs in the days of racial segregation.
On This Day:1917 – The U.S. purchased and took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million. 1927 – Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Ariz. 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps to help alleviate suffering during the Depression. By the time the program ended after the start of World War II it had provided jobs for more than six million men and boys.
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