We have nothing to lose but our chains.

That minimum-wage job is not paying half of what a person needs to live a halfway-decent life. The plan B, I’ll-work-until-I-find-a-better-job, job is increasingly where Americans wind up getting stuck at a wage that’s worth less in real dollars than it was in 1967.

These highly-profitable corporations get away with paying Americans peanuts to put up with hard conditions by using the legal fiction of the franchise to excuse themselves from paying a living wage.

Ironically, whenever the specter of labor organizing comes along, they do spend money — to keep their employees terrified and docile, like slaves.

Some of America’s most iconic corporations constantly lie to employees and customers about issues like wage theft. They say higher wages will mean job cuts — as if minimum wage employers have never cut payroll before! — but the truth is that customers would be charged about ten percent more to pay workers ten dollars an hour.

That’s the change customers generally drop into the charity bin, and we will get over it as soon workers spend that money back into the economy. Prices are already always going up anyway; “value menus” keep losing value; this argument is a corporate insult to the intelligence of average Americans.

Fast food strikes are supposed to happen in 150 cities today. Organizers are not waiting on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 — they are demanding $15 an hour, and they are reportedly willing to risk arrest.

If you are a fast food worker, then know your rights and cast aside your fears. If you are a customer, then visit a fast food franchise today, and remind the person who takes your order that “You have the right to organize for better wages and working conditions.”

As customers, we don’t want to be served food by desperately tired people who are working four jobs to make ends meet. We want alert, healthy employees serving our food, and we would rather they had it than some distant CEO who will spend it on extravagances.

As workers, the status quo is unacceptable. The average fast food worker is no longer a teenager starting out, but a grown adult, often a head of household. The value of the American family is being driven downwards by the state of the American job, not some moral failing on the part of workers.

This will not change unless we make all our voices heard, even if we’re speaking into the drive-through microphone. Fast food workers and customers of America, unite!