Fast Food Workers: We Will Strike for Wages, Union

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.

Elizabeth Rene, a Kingsborough College student from Flatbush, 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 Elizabeth Rene, a Kingsborough College student from Flatbush, 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

“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.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi Barry Williams/for New York Daily News Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem/South Bronx) was expected to join the cause later Wednesday, marching with N.Y. Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez and scores of clergy to Riverside Churchto push for a minimum wage bump.

“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.”

From CNN Money:

Fast food worker strikes planned in 150 cities

  @CNNMoney May 7, 2014: 8:27 PM ET

mcdonalds strike 2Frankie Tisdale, who works at a KFC in Brooklyn, will join a May 15 fast food worker strike, calling for a increase in the hourly wage to $15.00

The fast-food worker strikes are expanding to more U.S. cities and going global.

Workers in up to 150 cities across the country are planning to strike on May 15, according to labor organizers.

The movement is also headed overseas, with plans for workers to join protests in 33 countries.

On Wednesday, the workers announced the protests outside a McDonald’s in New York City, and delivered a letter that called on the fast food giant to raise wages and respect workers’ rights worldwide.

However, security guards didn’t allow the workers to bring the letter inside the restaurant. So, they posted the letter on the door. It was removed soon after.

The protest movement, which originated in 2012 in New York, last year spread to about 100 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and Memphis.

Workers from fast food giants like McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500), Burger King (BKW), Wendy’s (WEN) and Yum! Brands (YUM, Fortune 500), owner of KFC, have been walking off their jobs, calling on employers to pay them a minimum wage of $15 an hour and allow them to form unions without retaliation.

Currently, the median pay for the fast food workers across the country is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

Frankie Tisdale, a 26-year-old worker from a KFC in Brooklyn said he will join the strike with fellow workers next week.

Tisdale lives in his father’s house in Brooklyn with his girlfriend and two young children. He earns $8 an hour and works between 14 and 23 hours a week.

With less than $200 a week, he sometimes has to choose between buying food for the family and taking his kids’ clothes for a wash to the laundromat. He said it’s too expensive to eat at the KFC where he works so he never does. “Everything costs more. Why can’t my pay go up?” Tisdale says.

Related: Worker wages: Wendy’s vs. Wal-Mart vs. Costco

In the past year, many states and cities have taken action by raising the minimum wage. This year alone, Connecticut, Maryland, Hawaii and New Jersey raised the minimum wage for workers.

Organizers see these actions as a testimonial to the success of their campaigns. The latest protests are backed by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations, a federation composed of 396 trade unions in 126 countries representing a combined 12 million workers.

Earlier this year, workers in three states filed class-action lawsuits against McDonald’s alleging widespread and systematic wage theft.

Related: The real budgets of McDonald’s workers

Labor experts say there have been scattered attempts to organize in previous decades, but very little in the fast food industry has stuck. Many say that’s because there is a high labor turnover rate in the industry.

In its latest annual report, McDonald’s acknowledged that the threat of strikes could potentially have an impact on earnings and sales.

Plight of the fast food worker

In a statement, McDonald’s said it offers “part-time and full-time employment, benefits and competitive pay based on the local marketplace and job level.” The company, and its franchisees, “are committed to providing our respective employees with opportunities to succeed.”

McDonald’s also said that about 80% of its restaurants globally are independently owned and operated by small business owners. To top of page

From the Christian Post

http://www.christianpost.com/news/fast-food-strike-may-15-to-happen-in-150-cities-across-us-119357/

A fast food strike has been planned for May 15 across the U.S. in 150 major cities including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and Memphis, according to reports Wednesday. Employees of major fast food brands like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are demanding that their pay be increased to $15 an hour from the average of about $9 an hour, or $18,500 a year.

The fast food strike will also go across the globe to 33 countries across six continents including Europe, Asia and South America. The movement is supported by organizations like Fast Food Forward, Hungry for Justice and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association, which represents about 12 million employees worldwide.

“We’ve gone global,” Ashley Cathey, a McDonald’s worker in Memphis, Tennessee, told USA Today. “Our fight has inspired workers around the world to come together.”

Fast food workers plan to walk off their jobs at McDonald’s, KFC and other restaurants on May 15 for the right to higher pay and to organize labor unions without the threat of being fired or laid off.

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