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Today fast food workers from around the world—including folks throughout North Carolina – are rallying for a decent raise (most workers In NC make around the minimum wage of $7.25/hour) and the right to collectively bargain.Greenville NC

And now that the state legislature has reconvened, a handful of state representatives introduced House Joint Resolution 1068 calling for a raise to the minimum wage today as well.

The legislation has been shepherded to the Commerce and Job Development Committee, and we’ll see what happens next. Specifically, let’s see what Rep. Thom Tillis, the speaker of the house and Republican U.S.-Senate candidate, will do about it.

Tillis had previously called the minimum wage an “artificial threshold” and a bid to increase it a “dangerous idea.”

But last week on MSNBC he punted –basically to himself — by saying the rate should be set at the state level.

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd repeatedly asked him if he as state Speaker of the House would be in favor of raising the minimum wage in North Carolina, and Tillis couldn’t bring himself to answer that question.

Tillis probably knows that  73 percent of people believe it’s time to raise the wage. Let’s see what he’ll do about it.

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Fast food workers 2Fast food workers are protesting the rampant wage theft by employers in their industry this week. There will be protests in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte tomorrow. Check the bottom of this post for details.

This is from the folks at the Southern Workers Organizing Committee:

Workers Speak Out Against McWage Theft

On March 13, workers in 3 states filed a historic class action lawsuit against McDonald’s revealing that McDonald’s — one of the largest corporations in the world — has been committing rampant wage theft against its employees. Whether its forcing workers to work off the clock, not paying workers for overtime, or forcing workers to pay back register shortages out of pocket, fast food workers are getting robbed on the job.

On Tuesday, local McDonald’s workers will be coming forward to tell their own stories of having their wages stolen, on top of struggling to survive on poverty wages. Read More
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If you’re planning on heading out for a fast food meal today, you might want to check out this petition being advanced by the good folks at the Campaign for America’s Future entitled “Tell McDonald’s to stop buying luxury jets until they pay their workers a l;iving wage.” As the post notes:

“More than half of low-wage workers employed by the largest U.S. fast-food restaurants earn so little that they must rely on public assistance to get by.

McDonald’s is the worst offender, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion in poverty benefits for its employees. McDonald’s claims that they operate on razor-thin profit margins and can’t pay a living wage.

Yet they announced they had bought yet another brand new $35 million corporate jet for their fleet.”

And speaking of fat cats living large while others go hungry, Read More

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Fast food workersRaleigh’s News & Observer published an outstanding think piece by Kevin Rogers of Action NC today udner the headline “The high cost of fast-food’s low wages.” Rogers’ headline was simpler: “McWelfare.” 

As you can see below, either one works.

I recently met Willietta Dukes, a mother of two and fast-food employee in Durham, North Carolina. Willietta makes $7.85 at Burger King, despite 16 years of experience in the fast-food industry. In August, tired of struggling to get by, she walked off her job, just a month after losing her home because she could no longer afford rent payments. Despite working hard for as many hours as she gets from Burger King, Willietta is forced to rely on food stamps just to make ends meet.

Willietta is not alone. Research released this week finds that more than half – 52% – of fast-food workers nationwide are paid so little that the public needs to provide assistance to make sure workers can afford basic, everyday needs. In other words, fast-food employees are twice as likely as other workers to be forced to rely on programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps) or Medicaid. Read More

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Well, another Moral Monday is upon us, click here for information about the wheres and whens for today’s events in Charlotte, Burnsville and Manteo.

And speaking of Moral Monday, check out this editorial from Saturday’s Charlotte Observer about some of the cold, hard facts being lifted up by the MM protests.

And speaking of excellent editorial page content from over the weekend, check out this piece that ran in the Fayetteville Observer by former city council member and veteran activist Denny Shaffer, in which he explains the ultimate objectives of the state’s right-wing political movement.

And speaking of the disastrous impact of right-wing policies, check out this post by blogger extraordinaire Steve Benen about the slow motion wreck that is taking place across the nation as a result of the cuts inflicted by the absurd “sequestration” path forced by Congress.

And speaking of disastrous, slow motion cuts, activists will be rallying in Raleigh tomorrow to combat the ongoing demise of the minimum wage and the rights of fast food industry workers. The event will take place at 3:30 pm at Martin Street Baptist Church. RSVP by calling 919-604-8167 or emailing itsaredletterday@gmail.com.

And finally, speaking of people with whom such protests would have resonated, check out this tribute to the late Catholic Bishop Joe Gossman of Raleigh by George Reed of the Council of Churches. Oh, how the North Carolina Catholic community could benefit from someone of Gossman’s courage and progressive views today.