Fed Up Fast-Food Workers Strike To Change Economy

Dave Johnson

In a surprise move, fast food workers in New York City walked out to strike for better pay. Like Walmart workers a week ago, they are joining the fight to change our economy.

Fast-food workers are exploited. The low-wage, burger-flipping service sector is the symbol of the new economy that is stripping the country of its middle class while a few at the very top make billions. Employers take advantage of the high unemployment to pay as little as the law allows, and hold down hours to keep from providing benefits. It pays off really big for a few at the expense of everyone else. Last year the CEO of Wendy’s made $16.5 million dollars while paying minimum wage. Or more to the point, because they pay minimum wage.

So fed-up fast-food workers are starting to organize and do something about it. Today in New York City fast-food workers staged a one-day walkout to demand a decent wage — enough to pay for rent and food.

Tell the CEOS of McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell to pay hard workers like me a living wage.

The basics: NY Times, In Drive to Unionize, Fast-Food Workers Walk Off the Job

Fast-food workers at several restaurants in New York walked off the job on Thursday, firing the first salvo in what workplace experts say is the biggest effort to unionize fast-food workers ever undertaken in the United States. The effort — backed by community and civil rights groups, religious leaders and a labor union — has engaged 40 full-time organizers in recent months to enlist workers at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Taco Bell and other fast-food restaurants across the city.

Leaders of the effort said that workers were walking off the job to protest what they said were low wages and retaliation against several workers who have backed the unionization campaign. They said it would be the first multi-restaurant strike by fast-food workers in American history, although it was unclear how many workers would walk off the job.

More basics: LA Times, Fast-food workers walk out in N.Y. amid rising U.S. labor unrest

A week after hundreds of Wal-Mart employees walked off their jobs to demand better wages and the freedom to form a union, fast-food workers from some of the nation’s largest chains are staging a similar walkout.

Employees from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and KFC are staging protests in locations around New York City today, demanding $15 an hour in pay – more than double the minimum wage some receive – and the right to form a union.

Josh Eidelson reports on the strike and the issues behind it at Salon, in In rare strike, NYC fast-food workers walk out,

New York City workers are organizing at McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Papa John’s. Organizers expect today’s strike to include workers from almost all of those chains, with the largest group coming from McDonald’s; the company did not respond to a request for comment.

But employees were clear about their reasons for walking out. “They’re not paying us enough to survive,” McDonald’s worker Raymond Lopez told Salon in a pre-strike interview.

In the Atlantic Sarah Jaffe writes, McJobs Should Pay, Too: It’s Time for Fast-Food Workers To Get Living Wages,

The term “McJob” has come to epitomize all that’s wrong with the low-wage service industry jobs that are growing part of the U.S economy. “It beats flipping burgers,” the cliché goes, because no matter what your job might be, it’s assumed to be better than working in a fast-food restaurant.

Today in New York City, though, hundreds of workers at dozens of fast-food chain stores are walking out on strike, demanding better of those jobs. At McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Taco Bell, and Domino’s Pizza locations, workers have been organizing, and today they launch their campaign. They want a raise, to $15-an-hour from their current near-minimum wage pay, and recognition for their independent union, the Fast Food Workers Committee.

Click and listen: Truvon tells his experience of working at Wendy’s while dealing with Hurricane Sandy. #fastfoodfwd

Fed Up WIth Our Burger-Flipping Economy? You Can Help Them Out

Visit the Fast Food Forward website, (scroll down for facts)

Fast Food Forward is a movement of NYC fast food workers to raise wages and gain rights at work. It is part of the national movement of low-wage workers fighting for a better future. When we make enough to live – instead of barely getting by – our community and economy benefit.

Fast Food Forward joins the momentum of the Black Friday strikes and other low-wage worker struggles to build community engagement, hold corporations and their CEOs accountable, and to raise wages so that all Americans can prosper.

Sign this petition: Higher Pay For A Stronger New York!

Fast food workers in New York City barely make enough to get by. Many of us make minimum wage — just $7.25 an hour, or as little as $11,000 a year. Meanwhile, the Goliath corporations we work for, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, are part of a $200 billion industry. These corporations reap huge profits and shower CEOs with exorbitant compensation while most of their employees qualify for food stamps.

Fast food workers are parents building a better future for our kids, seniors who can’t afford retirement, hardworking young people dreaming of college, faithful members of your congregation, and your community-minded neighbors. We are New Yorkers.

We’re united in the fight for a higher wage, so we can afford the food, clothing, and housing our families need and deserve. Boosting pay for our jobs will allow us to put more money into the economy. Join us.

Connect on Facebook: New York Communities for Change

Visit the Corporate Action Network’s website for the campaign: FAST FOOD FORWARD with petitions, lists of events, campaign materials and sample letters to the editor.

On Twitter, follow @fastfoodforward and use the hashtag #fastfoodfwd

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