NYC's Fast Food Workers Are On Strike Today

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 29 2012 2:31 PM

NYC's Fast Food Workers Are On Strike Today

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Protesters, many of them employees at Wendy's fast-food restaurant, demonstrate outside of one of the restaurants to demand higher pay and the right to form a union on November 29, 2012 in New York City

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Fast food workers at dozens of restaurant chains in New York City walked off the job on Thursday. The one-day strike is part of a unionization campaign to increase worker wages. Workers at Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's are among those participating. 

Here's how the campaign, Fast Food Forward, describes the action:

While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by — many are forced to be on public assistance despite having a job. Raising pay for fast food workers will benefit workers and strengthen the overall economy.
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According to the campaign's petition, Fast Food Forward is advocating for a $15/hr wage, a substantial increase from the $7.25/hr many fast food workers in the city currently make. The campaign has the support of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lent her voice (or at least Twitter acount) to the fight this morning: "Working NYers deserve a #livingwage."

Over at the Atlantic, Sarah Jaffe explains that while the fast food worker campaign might get a boost in attention from the "viral" Walmart strikes and Black Friday walkouts, "the first multi-franchise effort among fast-food workers to organize and demand better conditions...was building before the first Walmart worker walked out." 

The campaign, according to the New York Times, has backing and organizational support from a number of religious and community groups in the city. That coalition of support is led by New York Communities for Change, who are big players in a number of campaigns for low-wage workers in the city. The campaign has also reportedly benefited from some behind-the-scenes support from the Service Employees International Union.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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