Target: Striking New York fast-food workers
Goal: To demand a living wage and unionization rights for employees in the fast-food industry
Fast-food workers in New York have recently gone on strike to demand wage increases and the right to unionize. The campaign is called “Fast-Food Forward” and is being led by New York Communities for Change, a group that has helped unionize car-wash and grocery store workers in New York. The campaign seeks to raise fast-food worker pay to $15 an hour and is looking to become the largest effort to unionize fast-food workers in the U.S.
Strikes have been scheduled at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s locations throughout the city. Many of the striking employees at these restaurants are frustrated and fed up with their low pay despite having worked for over a decade. One striking McDonald’s worker noted, “I’ve been in this game for ten years and I’m still at square one.” A Wendy’s worker complained that he was still making $7.25 an hour after a year of working and could barely afford rent, food, and clothing. The average fast-food workers makes less than $8 an hour in the United States. Organizations backing Fast-Food Forward include UnitedNY.org, the Service Employees International Union (which bills itself as the fastest growing labor organization in North America), and the Black Institute.
A former McDonald’s franchise director and restaurant owner who now advises the company’s franchises claims that raising pay to $15 an hour constitutes an “insane increase,” and that it would raise the cost of a fast-food sandwich by $1 or $2. He added, “there goes the Dollar Menu.” Of course, these are the kinds of arguments made by a company that shamelessly chooses enormous profits over the well-being of its employees. This goes for all the fast-food restaurants implicated in the strike. Fast-food restaurants should pay their employees a living wage, regardless of whether or not it raises the price of a Big Mac. Similarly, workers should be allowed to organize. Support the striking fast-food employees and their campaign for these rights.
Dear striking fast-food employees of New York,
I am writing this letter in support of your decision to stand up to the fast-food industry. Given your vulnerability as un-unionized workers in a notoriously anti-worker industry, I feel your action is extremely brave. It is also extremely important.
The fast-food industry has not faced a large-scale strike. This is in spite of its history of paying low wages, of refusing to allow its employees to organize, and of generally treating its workforce with no dignity. You are making history by taking a stand against the industry that disrespected your rights and disregarded your basic needs for so long. And at a time when Walmart workers are striking for the first time in history, it seems that your actions may be the beginning of a larger movement in America.
Know that the American people broadly support your actions and that the large corporations cannot continue in their ways. Thank you for your willingness to strike for better conditions for yourself and for your fellow workers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Presstv.ir