Truthout Stories Mon, 01 Sep 2014 10:22:21 -0400 en-gb Labor Day Victories to Celebrate

In recent decades the news for the country’s workers and the labor movement has been mostly bad. We’ve seen stagnant wages, declining unionization rates, anti-union court rulings, and for the last six years mass unemployment as the labor market is still far from recovering from the collapse of the housing bubble. It would be easy to go on about how bad things are, but it is worth highlighting a couple of good news items against this backdrop.

Opinion Mon, 01 Sep 2014 10:10:46 -0400
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A sign held by a minimum wage protester outside Seattle city hallA sign held by a minimum wage protester outside Seattle city hall. (Photo: Toby Scott)"It's easy to not think about the person serving you your food," 21-year-old Caroline Durocher told me as she prepared for the 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at a Taco Bell in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Durocher had been working low-wage jobs since she was 16, but after five years of so-called "entry-level" employment, she felt stuck. Unable to get a better job without a college degree, but unable to earn enough money to go back to college, Durocher barely scraped by serving up 99-cent tacos to a steady stream of impatient drive-thru customers before heading home to the studio apartment she shared with her father.

"We definitely get disrespected a lot and looked down upon for being in fast food," sighed Durocher. But she was about to earn some respect.

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