New Yorkers saw 200 workers on strike this week at the city’s largest fast food chains, as employees at dozens of McDonald's, Burger Kings, and Taco Bells held a one day strike to call for higher wages to support their families and the right to form a union without interference.
The workers’ campaign is Fast Food Forward. The goal is to put money back in the pockets of the 50,000 men and women who work in the city’s fast food industry to help get New York’s economy moving again.
“It’s ridiculous that multi-million dollar corporations have people like me who work hard and need to rely on food stamps to get by," says Pamela Waldron, a 27 year-old KFC worker.
“Low-wage work has accounted for the bulk of new jobs added since the recession,” says Jonathan Westin, a leader with New York Communities for Change, a community organization supporting the striking workers. “We can’t wait for the economy to produce better jobs – the economy won’t grow as long as people’s paychecks are so low. It’s that simple.”
Fast food is a $200 billion a year industry. Many fast food workers earn minimum wage and must rely on public assistance programs to provide for their families and get healthcare for their children.
“Fast food workers are coming together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union so they can support their families, and put money back into the economy, instead of relying on taxpayers to shoulder the burden for the fast food industry’s low wages,” continues Westin.
Workers at McDonald's, Burger King, Papa John’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, and Domino’s are looking to join the Fast Food Workers Committee. Several have already faced retaliation, including suspension, for trying to form a union.
Low-wage work has accounted for the bulk of new jobs added since the recession. To get the economy moving again, workers across the U.S.—like those at Walmart, McDonald's, Macy's, LAX and JFK airports, NYC car washes, and other retail and fast food stores in Chicago -- are joining together to demand a higher pay that supports families, without having to rely on public assistance.