These workers do not make even close to a livable wage within New York City or anywhere else in the country. Just as Walmart keeps their employees on a “barely able to survive day-by-day” wage, this industry is turning in billions in profit and is a prime example of the grossly unjust wage gap in our country. We need more workers rallying together and we as Christians should be the first to stand with them against the full-time working person’s life of poverty.
Fast-food restaurants were a little bit slower Thursday in New York City. Hundreds of workers staged a one-day strike in what organizers are calling the biggest job action ever in that industry. It’s a growing segment of the economy, but workers complain that fast-food jobs don’t pay enough to survive in New York City.
The current minimum wage in New York is $7.25. That’s what many fast-food workers in the city earn, including Joseph Barrera, who works at a KFC restaurant in Brooklyn. He thinks fast-food companies can afford to treat their employees better.
“We help them earn those billions of dollars that give them the lifestyle that the CEOs get. They earn million-dollar paychecks, so why can’t they give us something that we can live on?” says Barrera.
This is the second time workers at fast-food restaurants around the city have walked off the job in the past six months.
Jonathan Westin is a campaign manager for Fast Food Forward, the group that organized both strikes. It’s calling for fast food restaurants to pay a so-called living wage of $15 an hour.
“It’s not teenagers working after-school jobs,” says Westin. “It’s adults with families that are trying to take care of their kids and can’t put food on the table. They can work here for 10, 15 years and still be making the same wages as when they started.”