From The New York Daily News:
Fast food workers from across the boroughs skipped their shifts Wednesday and brought their beef to Sixth Ave. in Manhattan, promising another citywide walkout next week to highlight their growing frustration.
“The economy is so tough right now,” said Elizabeth Rene, a Kingsborough College student from Flatbush who has worked at multiple McDonald’s in the city since 2006, including the W. 28th St. store that served as the site for Wednesday’s rally.
“It’s really difficult,” she added. “I have experience. I’ve worked at other locations, and I’m still taking home $7.25 an hour after taxes.”
The workers have been staging walkouts and demonstrations since 2012, part of their effort to organize a union without retaliation.
Now that Congress has again shown an unwillingness to raise the national minimum wage, workers are also trying to get Albany lawmakers to give municipalities across the state the authority to raise the wage floors for themselves.
“We need Albany to act now and let cities raise their own local minimum wage,” said Elizabeth Davis, 21 who has worked at a Highbridge McDonald’s for two years. “The support we’re getting today from the community is remarkable. Albany better be paying attention.”
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem/South Bronx) was expected to join the cause later Wednesday, marching with dozens of clergy and N.Y. Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez to Riverside Church to make the case that the state’s $8 minimum wage was simply too low for workers to take care of their families.
“We’re sending a clear message that it’s time for New York City to set an appropriate local minimum wage,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “We can no longer allow so many of our workers to struggle on an unfairly low wage that does not reflect the cost of living in this city.”
Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s Global, said the wage debate is “an important discussion that needs to take into account the highly competitive nature of the industries that employ minimum wage workers, as well as consumers and the thousands of small businesses which own and operate the vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants.”