A movement trying to get New York City to raise wages and benefits for its low-income fast food workers has called for a strike on Thursday, threatening to slow down your french fry orders. A similar walkout last November only managed to round up around 200 workers—hardly enough to make a blip among the city's hundreds of quick-serve restaurants—but the leaders of the strike say that could double this time around, with workers from as many as 70 Manhattan restaurants getting involved.
That's not an inconsiderable amount when you think that the group, Fast Food Forward, is not a union and workers who walk off the job could be risking their already fragile livelihoods by doing so. But they do have the support of other unions and clergy members. And by focusing their efforts on a just a few dozen stores, they might actually be able to make a noticeable slowdown for some customers and get what they're really after... publicity for the cause.
The minimum wage in New York City is currently $7.25 an hour, which works out to only $15,000 a year for a full-time worker. Last month, the state voted to raise the total to $9 an hour over the next three years, but that would still not rise to the level of a "living wage" for most New Yorkers, particularly those living the city. Fast food jobs have some of the lowest compensation and highest turnover, even as some outlets are raising the qualifications bar for what are traditionally seen as low or no-skill jobs.
The group also plans a march and rally with striking workers in Harlem later today, They chose April 4 as the strike day to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King.