About 400 fast food workers in New York City recently went on strike. The strike was organized by Fast Food Forward, an organization campaigning for a higher minimum wage for fast food employees. This strike was a follow-up to an initial action last November when about 200 workers walked out. It received a fair amount of media attention and some workers succeeded in shutting down their stores.
President Obama recently proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage, from $7.25 to $9 per hour. Changes of this kind are always politically difficult, as employers of minimum wage employees are reluctant to spend more on labor. Republicans in Congress have opposed similar legislation in the past. But many states already have a minimum wage higher than the $7.25 floor, and support for the bill is widespread among labor interests.
In New York City, the average yearly salary for fast food workers is $11,000, which isn't nearly enough to survive in a city with steadily increasing rents and a high cost of living. Fast Food Forward estimates that $11,000 is only 25% of the sum required to live in New York City. For tipped workers, the federal minimum wage is just $2.13. Workers are expected to make up the difference between that sum and $7.25 in tips, a difficult proposition that leaves many workers severely underpaid.
About 400 fast food workers in New York City recently went on strike. The strike was organized by Fast Food Forward, an organization campaigning for a higher minimum wage for fast food employees. Fast Food Forward currently has over 123,000 signatures on their petition.
Fast Food Forward currently has over 123,000 signatures on their petition, which you can sign here. It remains to be seen what impact the strike, and Obama's proposal, will have on the minimum wage. In the meantime, workers were encouraged that there was little retaliation from employers after the strike. As word continues to spread about Fast Food Forward's mission, future actions will likely draw greater support from workers and employers.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her website.