Fast-Food Workers Walk Out Across NYC, Demand Higher Wages
Newly formed strike-organizer Fast Food Forward is coordinating a protest with hundreds of the city's fast-food workers today, beginning with the 280 Madison Avenue McDonald's at 6:30 this morning, where employees walked out demanding better wages.
More strikes are expected today at noon in Penn Station and on Brooklyn's Fulton Street, and later this afternoon in Times Square.
Fast Food Forward has 40 full-time staff members working to get fast-food chains like McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, and KFC, to increase wages to $15/hour and to allow employees to unionize without interference.
Currently, the average pay for fast-food workers in New York is closer to $9 an hour (which works out to around $18,500 a year for a full-time worker). The campaign points out that many of the 50,000 men and women who work in the city's fast food restaurants full-time must rely on public assistance programs to supplement their low incomes and poor benefits, especially those with families.
A spokesman for Domino's told the Times that most employees aren't interested in unions: "People who are doing this part time, seasonally or as they work their way through college don't find much interest in membership." But Linda Archer, a part-time cashier who has worked at the McDonald's on 42nd Street for three years and earns about $11,000 a year, said she hoped a union could help get her the pay she deserves, affordable health insurance, and paid sick days.