Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has signed onto the Service Employees International Union-backed fast food worker movement, as she tacks further to the left in the Democratic primaries.
Clinton called into a SEIU-sponsored fast food workers forum on Sunday to express her support for raising the starting wage at establishments such as McDonald’s to $15 per hour. The SEIU has bussed in demonstrators across the country to participate in strikes outside of McDonald’s locations. Clinton pledged to carry their banner.
“Thank you for marching. … We need you out there,” she said, according to Politico. “I want to be your champion. I want to fight with you every day.”
Clinton’s embrace of the $15 wage—more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25—could have major consequences for the economy.
President Obama’s proposed $10.10 minimum wage could eliminate 1 million jobs, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. A wage nearly 50 percent higher than that could prove disastrous at the federal level, according to some estimates. The Employment Policies Institute, a free market think tank, found that such a starting wage could shutter more than 20 percent of fast food franchises in New York State alone.
Matthew Haller, spokesman for the International Franchise Association, said that Clinton’s embrace of the SEIU is an endorsement of “paving the way to unionization of the 8.8 million [franchise] workers and crumbling [franchising] a sector of the economy that is outpacing economy-wide growth.”