At 6:30 this morning when breakfast was just being served, workers began walking off the job at fast food restaurants all around New York City. Joining in the strike are McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Papa John’s.
The nearly union free fast food restaurants are receiving demands for a union and raising pay to $15 just to start. The largest group expected to strike is McDonald’s.
Executives at McDonald’s warn that they would have to raise prices $1-$2 on meals and that would ruin the dollar menu and the reputation for lower priced meals. Workers are starting to be outside the ‘teenager’ age group since the recession and minimum wage at $7.25 is just not paying the bills. These workers want to be able to live, pay rent, buy food and clothes without assistance. The workers were clear,“They’re not paying us enough to survive,” McDonald’s worker Raymond Lopez told Salon.
This strike was organized and has been in the works for months. Fourty NYCC organizers have been meeting with workers planning this one day walk-out.
There is also the issue that the fast food industry operates within the ‘part-time’ scenario. This makes it hard for workers to get enough hours to qualify for health benefits such as health insurance. Their schedules are not solid, but operate like a swing shift making it almost impossible to overcome this ‘part-time’ status by working more than one job. You cannot predict when you will be asked to come to work, making you unavailable for that second job.
For anyone wanting to make a living wage, fast-food for the most part is not a real option. So now, many Americans are finding themselves in a position of getting public assistance to fill the gaps in their work pay, or doing without in a major way. The options do not seem fair for these workers, and this is why they went on strike today.
Frugal living can only take you so far; you still have to have money to live. When gas and milk are near $4 and your hourly wage is only $7.50 before taxes, you do the math. These workers are way past frugal living, and near the point of begging to survive. Will they get what they are demanding? Will $15 an hour come to Knoxville, Tenn.? We will be watching this closely in the days and weeks to come.
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