Fast food workers usually take orders from customers, but on September 4th, workers took time to give some of their own. Boston workers from Burger King, McDonald’s, and other fast food chains participated in strikes on Labor Day to push for a higher minimum wage and better benefits. The movement, called “Fight For 15”, strives to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts from 11 to 15 dollars. These proposals are completely attainable and must be passed in order to raise the standard of living for minimum wage workers across the country.

The aim of protesters across 300 cities nationwide was to support proposals that would increase the minimum wage to 15 dollars and grant workers paid medical leave, and which will be voted on in November 2018. Workers hope for 26 weeks off for personal injury or 16 weeks off for an ill relative while receiving 90% of their wages.

These benefits are fair, and so is an hourly minimum wage of 15 dollars. In fact, California and New York have already implemented plans which will raise their minimum wages to 15 dollars by 2022 and 2018 respectively.

While opponents of a higher minimum wage express concern about possible layoffs and fewer hours for employees, no proof has been found that increasing the minimum wage would lead to such results.  According to an analysis of employment data from the past three years, higher wages have had no impact on employment levels, meaning that wage increase did not cause more layoffs or fewer employment hours.

Although higher wages mean higher costs for businesses, these are equilibrated by the billions of dollars that are subsequently made available for consumer spending. When workers are paid more, they can purchase more, and so the business’s increased costs are offset. With these alleged drawbacks of increasing the minimum wage disproven, there is no reason not to “Fight for 15” and improve the quality of life for low-wage workers.

Some fear that a drastic rise in the minimum wage will have unpredictable side effects. They claim that proposed increases are more dramatic than any that have been previously studied, so the outcome of these increases is impossible to determine. However, the proposals that are set to be voted on in November 2018 will not, if passed, immediately increase the minimum wage to 15 dollars. Instead, the minimum wage would be raised incrementally until finally reaching 15 dollars in 2022. Thus the fear of potentially devastating consequences due to an immediate and radical change is unjustified. Rather, the increase will be carefully controlled, and if unforeseen developments arise, the proposed plan can be altered.

According to MIT’s living wage calculator, the living wage in Suffolk County, Massachusetts for a single adult is 13.42 dollars, and the living wage for a person supporting one child is 27.96 dollars. The U.S. cannot allow the minimum wage to be lower than the living wage of one person supporting him or herself.

Not supporting an increase in minimum wage is making a statement that workers don’t deserve living wages. Take the fast food workers’ orders. Fight for 15.