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McDonald’s Offers 89 Cents

McDonald’s raises its minimum wage, sort of. W. Post: “McDonald’s will raise its minimum wage to an average of $9.90 by July 1, up from $9.01, in advance of a planned wave of strikes on April 15 … The move will cover roughly 90,000 people … That doesn’t include the 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,350 locations that are franchised, and the company can’t dictate wage hikes at those employers, but it’s possible that franchisees could follow suit.”

“Labor organizers were not impressed” reports NYT: “‘Even for those employees who will benefit, the rate adjustment will still leave many hovering around the poverty line,’ Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said [noting] that McDonald’s had almost $5 billion in profit last year and paid its chief executive $13.8 million in 2012 … ‘Is this an April Fool’s Day joke?’ asked Justin Johnson, 21, who works at a McDonald’s in St. Louis and who said he made $7.60 an hour. ‘After two years of campaigning, McDonald’s raises wages for less than 10 percent of their workers — and only 10 percent of the way toward a living wage?'”

Walmart gets active on social issues, deflects attention from labor issues. NYT: “Walmart’s public foray into social issues dates back to the mid-2000s. Under assault by organized labor for its business practices, Walmart started to tiptoe into areas like environmental sustainability — though mostly, critics noted, in ways that would improve its bottom line.”

De Blasio, Warren Lead Forums On Inequality

Mayor de Blasio hosts summit on income inequality today. W. Post: “De Blasio said Thursday’s gathering will include about 12 to 15 people from around the country. He said a list of names will be made available after the meeting. Among those expected to attend are Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.”

While Sen. Warren and Rep. Elijiah Cummings lead Middle Class Prosperity Project public forum on student debt in Boston: “Thursday’s forum, titled ‘Tackling the Student Debt Crisis,’ will focus on how rapidly increasing college costs and student loan debt threaten America’s middle class … In the last year alone, nearly one million more borrowers have fallen behind on their student loan payments, and total student loan debt has risen to $1.3 trillion.”

Two Dem Senators join Third Way. Politico: “Sen. Joe Manchin and fellow moderate Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp are joining centrist Democratic group Third Way as honorary co-chairs. They’re joining the moderate think tank as it’s gearing up to push for expanding trade deals…”

Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke debate whether we are poised for growth. WSJ: “[Summers says] our economy is headed toward a future of slow growth … [Bernanke says] businesses eventually will invest at very low real interest rates, which should boost growth in the short and long run … Mr. Summers’s main prescription for how to encourage growth in the short term and long term is more infrastructure spending, whose economic value should easily exceed current low borrowing costs.”

Greek opposition party tries to nudge Syriza toward concessions. Bloomberg: “Opposition leader Antonis Samaras, who was ousted by Tsipras in January elections, signaled his willingness to join a unity government if the concessions required to win emergency loans drive a wedge through the ruling anti-austerity coalition.”

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