Maurice Royal, 32

I’m an artist at heart, a cartoonist. I just need a chance.

I was working at two different Burger Kings in New York, a total of about 20 hours, but then they cut me to one and it was just too much effort at those prices – those 10 hours at $8 an hour would not pay for an apartment…

I’ve been staying at a men’s shelter on the Bowery. I did try to stay with my cousin at my grandfather’s apartment in Harlem in public housing – he was staying with a girlfriend at the time – but it did not work out. My cousin would party a bit and word got out to the housing people and they said it was against the rules for us to be staying there. So I ended up at the men’s shelter, and I’m trying to hold onto a bit of money to get an apartment. Continue reading

Naquasia LeGrand, 22

Where shall I begin? I could start with my dream to be a center on a WNBA basketball team –- I was good while I was in school, tall too. Or I could talk about bouncing around from Virginia to the Carolinas to New York. Somehow none of it explains directly how I have come to be a leader in the Fast Food workers campaign.

I did like basketball and athletics. And I was good at it.

I started in Brooklyn, and live in Brooklyn now, but my mom left to return to where most of her family was when I was about seven, and when I was eight, she gave me a choice of where I wanted to live. So I have been living with my grandmother in Brooklyn. But there were times of going to school in Virginia or Carolina in between, and my two younger brothers were not given a choice and they stayed down South. Continue reading

Listening to the Voices Behind the Counter

Naquasia LeGrand, 22, a fast food worker in New York City, recently appeared on the Colbert Report.

Naquasia LeGrand, 22, a fast food worker in New York City, recently appeared on the Colbert Report.

NEW YORK CITY – The assignment coming together on the table at a mid-Manhattan coffee shop suddenly seemed all encompassing for three fast-food workers. They were collaborating, sharing ideas and rejecting others, for a one-page graphic story that at once would relate the plight of the under-paid and shine optimism and hope for their superhero, “The Unionizer,” in helping workers to demand better wages and working conditions.

Naquasia LeGrand is 22, and was working two KFC jobs until one KFC closed, limiting her to 15 hours of work a week; her hours there are not fixed, so another job is difficult.

Even at $8 an hour now in New York it is difficult to make ends meet at her grandmother’s apartment, where she lives. She had just told her story on the (Stephen) Colbert Report. What she knew for sure, she said, was that a multi-billion-dollar corporation made enough to offer living wages for her co-workers. Continue reading