Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
December 3, 2012
UFAA POLITICAL STRIKE SUPPORT
The United Front Against Austerity strongly supports the strike for better wages and collective bargaining rights by New York City fast food workers employed by Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other restaurant chains. To prevent the owners from breaking the strike with scab labor brought in from the outside, and to counteract Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-labor campaign, we suggest that the strikers adopt the following countermeasures:
- The fully justified demand of the strikers for a $15 per hour minimum wage should be expanded into a demand for a $15 per hour living wage for every wage earner, part-time and full-time, CITYWIDE. This means gross wages of $31,000 per year for a full-time worker. Nobody can survive in New York City for less.
- The new $15 per hour living wage must not be used as an excuse for layoffs or firings. Anti-worker measures must be rolled back. All workers must enjoy full trade union rights and the benefits of collective bargaining.
- New York City must collect a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax on the quadrillions of buying and selling of stocks, bonds, and derivatives which roll through lower Manhattan each year. This will stabilize the city budget with no need for deadly austerity cuts in the city budget. As of today, working people pay sales tax on shoes and clothing, but Wall Street brokers pay zero on their flash trading, high frequency trading and other speculative gambling. It is time for the bankers to pay up.
- Using the proceeds of the Wall Street Sales Tax, New York City must immediately hire 100,000 unemployed at the living wage for emergency cleanup and reconstruction in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. These jobs must be open to all persons, with no discrimination of any kind.
- New York’s representatives in Washington are hereby warned that there must be NO CUTS in Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment benefits, Food Stamps, child health (S-CHIP), child nutrition (WIC, Head Start), and other vital programs which low-wage workers rely on.
- Education is the key to better jobs. Students crushed by $1 trillion in high interest student loans need an immediate Student Loan Freeze — no payments on interest or principal for five years or length of the world economic depression, which ever lasts longer.
Using this program, striking fast food workers can reach out to the unemployed, the working poor, low income students, women, and the entire organized labor movement. Under today’s depression conditions, the only way to win a strike is to expand it. Strikers need to support a program of demands that shows they are fighting for the whole society against Wall Street exploitation. Our short-term goal should be a citywide general strike before Christmas around these demands to shut Wall Street down until they cough up heavy duty concessions — while we warn Republicans and Democrats in Washington that we will not allow them to balance the federal budget on the backs of working people and the unemployed.