You Want a Living Wage With That? Fast Food Workers of N.Y.C. Prep for Another Strike


In Prospect Park on Wednesday, during a demonstration scheduled to coincide with the last time the minimum wage was raised–four years ago–New York City’s fast food workers authorized another citywide strike.

The strike will be their third since November, when fast food workers from Domino’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell and other chains organized a massive walkout.

The New York Daily News whines melodramatically that the strikes leave “the hungry helpless,” but Fast Food Forward, the group organizing the protests, says the demonstrations have led to a series of workplace victories, including raises, more hours–“and most recently, a repaired air conditioner on the hottest day of the year.” (It’s the little things, right?)

That day was the day a McDonald’s worker collapsed after serving for hours in the heat.

Striking New York City workers will be joined by fast food workers across the country–including Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and other cities–who are organizing their own walkouts to start on Monday.

Employees in Brooklyn will be walking off the job even earlier. The Daily News reports that workers from McDonald’s, Papa John’s Pizza, and Domino’s in Brooklyn will start striking Friday.

What do they want? It’s not that complicated, really: a $15-an-hour wage and union recognition. Today, minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Even McDonald’s admits that the salary it pays its own workers is totally unlivable. Earlier this month, the company released a helpful budgeting booklet, “Practical Money Skills.”

McDonald’s advice? Get a second job. Oh, and also: Live in a fantasy world where health insurance costs $20 a month.

As if the pay weren’t already bad enough, advocates say McDonald’s is now paying workers with Visa cards instead of paper paychecks or direct deposit. The card, according to Low Pay Is Not OK, charges $1.25 to make withdrawals, $2 to transfer money to a bank and–get this–$5 for not spending any money at all.

Our practical advice for McDonald’s and other fast food chains? Keep your employees happy–because bad things happen when you don’t.