National fast-food wage protests kick off in New York
By Alana Semuels August 29, 2013, 5:55 a.m.
NEW YORK -- Beginning a day of protests that organizers say will spread to 50 cities and 1,000 stores across the country, a crowd of chanting workers gathered Thursday morning at a McDonald's in midtown Manhattan to call for higher wages and the chance to join a union.
About 500 people, including workers, activists, religious leaders, news crews and local politicians, gathered outside the McDonald's on Fifth Avenue. The protesters chanted "Si Se Puede" ("Yes, We Can") and "Hey, hey, ho, ho $7.25 has got to go," holding signs saying "On Strike: Can't Survive on $7.25," referring to the federal minimum wage.
The protesters plan to spread out to other stores throughout New York during the day. Protests are also expected in Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and other cities.
Meanwhile, the Employment Policies Institute, a Washington-based think tank, has placed a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal with a picture of a robot making what looks like pancakes. It explains that restaurants have to reduce their costs of service to keep prices low, which might mean switching to robots if wages get too high.
"Why Robots Could Soon Replace Fast Food Workers Demanding a Higher Minimum Wage," the ad reads.
The fast-food protests began in New York on Nov. 29. There have been three protests in New York since then, and they have spread to Chicago and other cities. Thursday's protest is to mark the first for fast-food workers in Los Angeles and other cities.
"This is our fourth strike in New York, and now we have 50 cities striking with us," said Tyeisha Batts, 27, one of the protesters, who has worked in fast food for six years. "I'm ready for a change."
The protests come as more workers in blue- and white-collar jobs begin to agitate for better working conditions. But the fast-food protests are unique because they are not targeting one employer or company, but a whole industry. In Chicago, for instance, workers are expected to strike at Wendy's, Subway and McDonald's outlets. In New York, they're to be at Wendy's, McDonald's and Burger King.
Derrick Langley, 27, stood in front of the chanting crowds, pointing to scars on his arms that he said came from cleaning the grill in the KFC restaurant where he works; he also has a second-degree burn on his right foot, he said.
"They don't seem to care," he said about his employers. "It's horrible how they manage us, how they talk to us, how they treat us. They don't respect us as human."
The fast-food industry used to employ mostly younger people just trying to make some extra money as they went through school. Now, workers are older and depend on the work to feed families. Analysis by the Economic Policies Institute shows that the average age of minimum-wage workers is now 35, and that 88% are 20 and older.
"This morning, I'm out here taking a stand for all the fast-food workers around the world," Langley said. "If you're not going to stand up for yourselves, we will."
You can stay in school, get an education and maybe get a real job. Working at McDonalds doesn't require an High School Diploma. DAH!
Gents, please. You both know better.
It really is that simple. Dont want to be labled "an angry white man" though. The slippery slope of entitlements.... creates helpless dependents, havent we learned this?
I worked 30 hours a week at just above minimum wage, put myself through college, paid for a jalopy and gas...and still had a little left over to save...and party...AND...pay my parents a modest rent. I didnt do any of that because I wanted to, I did it because I had to; There was literally no one out there wringing their hands for me or advocating in my corner. In the interem, I went from lazy, aimless teen to a self-sufficient adult who expected nothing from anyone and knew "how to fish" for my dinner, as it were.
I think that had, at any point in this journey, someone come to me and say "you shouldnt have to do all of this, you are a victim"...I would have jumped on it like a drowning man on a life preserver. I would have let the self pity overwhelm me and allowed myself to be taken care of. Its human nature.
I consider the whole experience a gift.
Our current entitlement system is nothing more than paternalistic and frankly...latently racist. It assumes the least of the people it purports to help, whilst neutering them, often for generations.
But handing out free stuff makes certain people feel good about themselves, and there begins the difference in political philosophy that causes us to herp derp and call eachother asses and sandy vag's.
Last edited by 32green; 08-30-2013 at 07:57 AM.
Not only is it the number 2 cost..it is the number one problem, BY FAR. Restaurant workers are notoriously known as troublesome. MANY books on the subject. they are students, actors, uneducated etc.... all with a secondary agenda.
if you double the cost of labor, common sense will tell you restaurants will
1) Close in record numbers
2) Hire undocumented workers
3) raise prices to where it is no longer affordable to many.
NO ONE will win..... Thats your solution???
My daughter worked in a Chinese restaurant. All the workers there get free room and board and a small wage. I think kids work at McDonalds and mostly get first job experience. This isn't the type of job to have for the next 30 years.
I think in poorer areas the workers just don't care or they just don't pay attention to details.
The price of cigarettes has skyrocketed the past couple of decades, and the smoking rate is lower than ever. It's not a coincidence.
Last week I bought 3 bags of Spinach for $5. That easily lasts a week for a salad at each lunch. They almost always have a similar sale on bagged salad items.
From the Shoprite circular this week...
Broccoli Crowns $0.99
Rotisserie Chicken (which can feed a family of 4) $4.99
That is all the time I have to look at this but feel free to look at it yourself. That is just an excuse.
Of course convenience is a factor, but general food prices play a big role as well. You can always hand pick a few anecdotal exceptions/weekly specials, but the overall trend is undeniable. In general, unhealthy, chemical and preservative infused foods are much cheaper than healthy, fresh, natural foods.
You can definitely eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a comparable price, the same or lower, if you take the time and effort.
I simply said that working in the fast food business is intended as a "starter" job. An after school, part time occupation for high school kids who want a little spending money.
The service at all fast food restaurants is sh*tty.