Fast Food Workers Launch Strikes Across New York City

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The Shocking Blue Brujo Man

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Nov 30, 2012, 10:27:36 AM11/30/12
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Fast Food Workers Launch Strikes Across New York City
On the heels of Black Friday WalMart walkouts, hundreds of fast food
restaurant workers are planning to strike in high-traffic commercial
centers.
November 29, 2012  |  
 
 
 
This article was published in partnership with 
GlobalPossibilities.org  .
From the Chicago teachers’ strike to WalMart walkouts to
protests at fast food restaurants across New York City, 2012 is shaping
up to be the year that labor fought back.
Thursday, coming less than one week after the Black Friday WalMart
walkouts, hundreds of fast food restaurant workers are striking in
high-traffic commercial centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The strikes,
which began at 6 am this morning and will continue throughout the day,
will hit some of the world’s biggest fast food chains, including
McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Dominos, Burger King, Kentucky
Friend Chicken and Taco Bell, and carry an industry-shaking demand: the
right to unionize and wage increases to $15 an hour. 
Fast food workers in New York City earn  just below $9.00 an
hour   on average, and rarely receive health care, paid sick days
or other benefits that make it possible to live in an expensive urban
center like New York City. These workers are also often given only
20 or 30 hours of work a week, which keeps their annual income far below
the poverty line. According to organizers on the campaign, many workers
have to resort to collecting public assistance, eating at their
restaurants to save money and sometimes even living in homeless
shelters--necessities that not only make their lives incredibly
challenging but also put intense strain on the city’s social
safety net. 
 
The top companies, meanwhile, have been netting considerable profits;
according to The Atlantic’s Sarah Jaffe  , Taco Bell and
KFC’s profits have risen nearly 50 percent over the last four
years, and McDonald’s have jumped a staggering 130
percent. Most troubling, these types of low-wage, low-protection
jobs are the majority of positions  being created as the economy
slowly recovers from the 2008 recession. According to a report by the
National Employment Law Project, nearly 60 percent of the jobs added
since the recession have been these types of low-wage jobs, particularly
in retail sales and food preparation.
 Given the intense economic inequality of this rapidly growing
industry, the sector is ripe for worker organizing. However, the high
turnover rate in the industry and the challenge of battling some of the
world’s most massive corporations has thus far deterred any
group from launching an ambitious and comprehensive
campaign. Beginning in January of this year, New York Communities
for Change, in partnership with UnitedNY, the Black Institute the
Service Employees International Union, and faith groups across the city,
set out to change that legacy, deploying more than three dozen full-time
organizers into the city’s fast food sector. 
“Low wage work has accounted for the bulk of new jobs added
since the recession,†said Jonathan Westin, a leader with New
York Communities for Change. “We can't wait for the economy to
produce better jobs--the economy won’t grow as long as people's
paychecks are so low. It’s that simple.† 
The strikes began at six am Thursday morning when 14 of 17 workers
walked off the job at a McDonald’s near Grand Central. (The
company was forced to call in replacement workers to keep the store
open.) By seven and eight o’clock, workers refused to
assume their shifts at fast food restaurants across Manhattan, Brooklyn
and the Bronx. Major strikes are scheduled for noon at Penn Station and
Downtown Brooklyn, and a 5 pm rally at Times Square outside the
McDonald’s is expected to attract hundreds of workers. 
In addition to the WalMart walkouts, thousands of low-wage airport
workers in Los Angeles also went on strike last week  , disrupting the
busiest travel day of the year to protest the termination of their union
contracts and the elimination of their family healthcare insurance.
 The fast food campaign is the latest in a wave of low wage worker
protests in New York. There have been protests at six grocery
stores and four car washes this year, all campaigns organized by New
York Communities for Change. Meanwhile, smaller labor centers have also
joined the push to organize precarious workers. The Laundry
Workers’ Center waged and won an 11-month campaign to create a
workers’ association at a 24-hour cafe on the Upper East Side,
setting an precedent for the industry about the legal victories that can
be won for low-wage, immigrant workers. 
Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and activist in New York
City.
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CRIPES A'MIGHTY 3RD!

SHORTBUS O'REETEE STICKLER.

BEWARE OF OL' JEEZL PETE.

2012: YEAR OF THE ROBBY.

rob

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Dec 3, 2012, 12:33:46 PM12/3/12
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On Nov 30, 10:27 am, BillV2...@webtv.net (The Shocking Blue Brujo Man)
wrote:
i just had arby's today!
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