New York City’s Fast-Food Workers Commence Massive, Unprecedented Strike

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The scope of this strike is unprecedented. Photo: iStockphoto

A newly formed group called Fast Food Forward has rallied 40 full-time organizers and will, beginning this morning, coordinate an unprecedented strike of the city's fast-food workers. The goal is to get several restaurant chains — including, Domino's, McDonald's, Wendy's, and Taco Bell — to increase the wages paid to workers. The New York Times reports that the campaign is being backed by "community and civil rights groups, religious leaders and a labor union." The strike began this morning at the McDonald's at 280 Madison Avenue, and workers demanding higher pay will move throughout the city today to stations outside other fast-food restaurants.

At noon, workers will walk-out begin striking outside Burger King and Yum Brands restaurants within Penn Station. A simultaneous protest is expected o begin at Wendy's in Downtown Brooklyn at 425 Fulton Street. At 5 p.m., workers will begin striking at McDonald's, in the heart of Times Square, at 220 West 42nd Street.

Workers are demanding, on average, a $7 increase in hourly pay, from $8 to $15. It is said to be the biggest and broadest initiative of its kind to unionize fast-food employees. The strike's organizer, Fast Food Forward, says they are also seeking greater access to amenities and to unionize low-wage workers.

Fast-food and so-called fast-casual restaurant chains have a long-standing history of keeping unions out of the workplace. “It’s a fairly high-turnover position," the Times quotes Tim McIntyre, a Domino’s Pizza spokesman. "So there’s never been a successful union effort."

Drive to Unionize Fast-Food Workers Begins [NYT]