In perhaps the largest nationwide fast-food strike in history, the employees who make your 99-cent burgers and tacos were planning strikes in 50 U.S. cities Thursday. Workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage and hoping to raise attention to the fast-food industry's low pay and limited prospects. The current federal minimum wage standard is $7.25 per hour.

Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.

"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."

Two South Florida politicians said a week spent just "getting by" -- has gotten to them.  

Broward County Commissioner Martin Kiar and State Senator Dwight Bullard agreed last week to spend five days trying to live on Florida's current minimum wage of $7.79 an hour.

Kiar says the week-long budget he drew up for himself left only $106 dollars for food, travel and entertainment for him and his family.

It is the fourth anniversary of the last time the United States’ raised the minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is slightly higher at $7.79, but this is below the calculated “living wage” for most Floridian families

A living wage allows an individual or family to meet basic needs and have a normal standard of living.

Jordan Michael/WLRN

The Florida House has passed a bill that would preempt local living wage ordinances and a similar version is making its way through the Senate.

The House measure would not allow local governments to mandate that their vendors pay employees more than a set minimum or provide them with special work-related benefits.

At a Wendy's restaurant in Lower Manhattan on Monday, protesters urged the lunchtime crowd to skip the Value Menu for one day. They blocked the sidewalk and half of the street.

Shanell Young held a red strike sign over her head. Young earns the minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, at another Wendy's in New York. She says that's not enough to support her and her 5-year-old son.

"It's horrible," says Young. "Everything goes up. It's unfair. You can't find an apartment. You can't pay for children's school uniforms. Everything is unfair. We can't live off this."

Advocates for farmworkers, especially those who grow America's leafy greens and fresh vegetables, are pushing the government to do more to protect those workers from exposure to pesticides.

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

Kravis Center, Stagehands Union Settle Strike

Dec 22, 2012


West Palm Beach's Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the union representing its stagehands have settled outstanding contract issues and ended a four-day strike that canceled four performances of the hit show "Jersey Boys."

The two sides issued a joint, positive statement on Friday and then began crash preparations to unload idled trucks to prepare for the next performance. After Saturday's 2 p. m. show,  "Jersey Boys" was scheduled for 20 more performances through Jan. 6.