McDonald's Strike: Fast-Food Walkout for More Pay Set in NYC

Image: McDonald's Strike: Fast-Food Walkout for More Pay Set in NYC Fast food worker demonstrators hold signs and chant slogans outside of a Wendy's fast food restaurant, April 4, 2013 in New York.

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 04:01 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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More than 400 fast-food workers across New York City were expected to walk out of various McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's, Taco Bell, and other franchises on Thursday to protest the low wages they say aren't enough to live on.

Fast Food Forward, the coalition of labor, community, and clergy groups that organized the protests, is asking employers to pay workers a minimum of $15 an hour, up from the $7.25 to $9 that many receive now. The state minimum wage in New York is $7.25, though legislators agreed to raise it to $9 by 2016.

Currently, the median pay for the nearly 50,000 fast food workers in New York City is $9 an hour, or $18,500 a year, according to the New York Labor Department. That's about $4,500 lower than Census Bureau's poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

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For the second time since November, organizers were expecting workers at 70 of the city's McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Yum Brands-owned Pizza Hut and KFC locations to protest the low wages.

The strike was scheduled for Thursday to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was protesting on behalf of low-paid sanitation workers when he was shot to death in Memphis.

"We believe that it's a continuation of a civil rights fight against low wages and for Martin Luther King's movement to win dignity and living-wage jobs," Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, told the New York Times.

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Naquasia LeGrand, who gets paid $7.70 an hour at a KFC in Brooklyn, N.Y., said she can't pay her bills now that her full-time hours have been cut by more than a third.

"I have to decide whether to get a MetroCard or eat," LeGrand told CNNMoney.

Related stories:

Wal-Mart Workers Plan Black Friday Strike

Union Tells US Refinery Workers to Prepare for Strike

Brazil Bank Workers Strike as Talks Collapse

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