You see them everywhere.
They are our new factory workers. Their industry makes billions of dollars in profit for their owners. What these workers produce is in very high demand. They often work at two factories in the same day to produce this valuable product. They wear uniforms and are often given daily pep talks and ask to produce at their very highest level with the very highest quality. Who are these workers and what is this valuable product they produce?
Well, you’ve seen many of these workers, walking our streets in their uniforms. They’re waiting for public transportation, often carrying their groceries onto the bus. These workers make our hamburgers, our chicken, and our pizzas.
Fast food workers are nearing the average age of 30 years old. These workers are working day in and day out, making wages far below the poverty line. These workers deserve better from this country. They work when they are sick and they are tired. They work because they have to survive, and their wages are often the only means of support in their family. With poverty wages and no benefits, these workers are being denied economic justice. They must be given some opportunity to share the wealth and the greatness of this country.
My church teaches all workers, fast food workers included, have a moral right to human dignity, and this right should not and cannot be denied. My church teaches that human dignity is built upon the foundation of justice. This justice includes:, access to fair employment practices, affordable health care, and the right to free association and joining into unions.
The largest single employment group in the greater Kansas City area are fast food workers. They are vital to our economy and as human beings are entitled to a better life. The next time you enter a fast food restaurant, seek out the manager and ask him if he would thoughtfully consider treating his employees to a better life, better wages, health care and a decent life.
Deacon Mike Lewis
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, North Kansas City