Fast-Food Strikes Fight the Slide into Junk Wages — For All Of Us

RaiseUpMKE_CarlosJeffersonOnStrike

While President Obama continues his economic speaking tour, walkouts at fast-food restaurants rippled across cities nationwide last week, calling attention to the nation’s growing wealth gap. At the franchise stores of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and KFC and other grease-slinging corporations, thousands of people protested the low wages dished out by the biggest names in the industry and raised a common demand: $15 an hour and the right to unionize. “We are all going through the same thing,” said Naquasia LeGrand, who works at a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Brooklyn and has emerged as one of the most […]

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Time for a Raise?: Inside the Fight for 15

“It’s impossible to run a democracy where you have vast privilege and vast poverty with nothing in between. It’s already not working; too many people are disenfranchised both politically and economically.”
-- Rabbi Michael Feinberg (Photo via Fight for 15)

The kind of day Kasseen Silver has at work often depends on the weather. He’s worked at the Burger King on 116th Street (at Lexington Avenue) in Manhattan for two years now, and, he says, “My particular store, when it rains outside it rains inside. If it’s really hot outside you know you’re going to be hot inside.” Silver, who is part of the Fast Food Forward campaign calling for a raise to $15 an hour and union recognition, lives in the Bronx with his wife and three children. It takes him about an hour and a half to get […]

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Mixed Bag for NY’s Working, Middle Class Families in 2013 Mayoral Election

Front-runner Christine Quinn speaking to business leaders in Brooklyn. (Photo: Myrtle Avenue Business Partnership/CC)

Your rent is too damn high. You’re trying to make a living in the worst economy since the Depression. If you have a job, you probably haven’t gotten more than a token raise in years, and there’s a good chance you’re working freelance or part-time, with no benefits or security. So what does this year’s crop of mayoral candidates have to offer you, after 12 years of rule by Michael Bloomberg, the seventh-richest person in the United States—who increased his fortune by more than $22 billion while in office? — Six of the 11 now running are Democrats—City Council Speaker […]

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Bloomberg Gloats Like an Orwell Villain as NYC Bus Workers End Strike

(Photo: Bill McChesney/CC/Flickr)

New York City’s school-bus drivers and matrons have gone back to work after a month-long strike failed to win any concessions on job security from the Bloomberg administration. The administration refused to negotiate after soliciting bids for new contracts that don’t include the employee-protection provisions the workers went on strike to defend, and the union leaders decided to take their chances that the next mayor will be a Democrat and more sympathetic. “We appreciate the hard work our bus drivers and matrons do, and we welcome them back to the job,” Bloomberg said in a statement issued Feb. 15. “In […]

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Low Wage Workers Resuscitate NY’s Organized Labor

Low wage workers all over the city, like these Domino's employees, are getting organized fir fair wages and treatment. (Photo:  New York Communities for Change)

With New York’s barbell economy destroying traditional middle class employment, fast food workers aren’t the only ones fed up with low wages and unfair labor practices. Others rising up to fight for fair pay include workers from: • Farm Country in East New York – 63 current and former workers at Farm Country in East New York will receive a total of $500,000 in back pay as a result of being underpaid hourly as well as being shorted on overtime. Workers voted to unionize and will be getting 50-cent raises over minimum wage, overtime, and paid days off. • Golden […]

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NY Fast Food Workers Serve Up a Fight for Economic Justice

FOR WEB not loving it

The sidewalk in front of the Wendy’s on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall was choked with people at noon on November 29th. The signs they held were mostly handmade, in English and Spanish, calling for higher wages, more respect on the job. A small group of them held a bright red banner, that read “STRIKE for higher pay for a stronger New York.” A young woman led the rally, her bright red hair pulled back, her voice already ragged from chanting, from shouting her story. I was later told by an organizer she’d been out since 5 AM, showing up to support […]

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NYC Bus Workers Strike for Child Safety and Their Livelihoods

STRIKE bus drive feat pic

Nearly 9,000 school bus workers, represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, are on strike as of 6 a.m. Wednesday. They were driven to picket and protest by a double-cross on job security and child safety by Mayor Bloomberg’s office and the Department of Education. The union wants an Employee Protection Provision (EPP) included in any new contract bid the city accepts from private bus companies. This would protect some of the members with most seniority (the highest paid and most likely to be laid off). It basically says that employees are not guaranteed a position if a new […]

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