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  November 30, 2012

New York Fast Food Workers in Historic Strike for $15 an Hour


Fast food workers close down McDonalds and other fast food outlets demanding a living wage and the right to unionize
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transcript

New York Fast Food Workers in Historic Strike for $15 an HourIN NEW YORK ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29, WORKERS, LABOR ACTIVISTS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN TO UNIONIZE SOME OF THE CITY’S THOUSANDS OF FAST FOOD EMPLOYEE. STRIKES AND PICKETS WERE HELD ACROSS THE CITY AND CULMINATED WITH A 4PM RALLY AT TIMES SQUARE.

AT 5 AM DARYL YOUNG BEGINS HIS REGULAR COMMUTE TO A MCDONALDS RESTAURANT LOCATED ON THE CORNER OF 40TH STREET AND MADISON AVE. BUT INSTEAD OF GOING TO WORK TODAY, HE’S JOINING 15 OF HIS COLLEAGUES AND DOZENS OF SUPPORTERS ON THE PICKET LINES OUTSIDE.

YOUNG, A 26 YEAR OLD FATHER OF TWO YOUNG DAUGHTERS, MAKES $7.75 AN HOUR - ONLY $16,000 A YEAR. HE RELIES ON FOOD STAMPS TO MAKE ENDS MEET. HE SAYS HE’S GOING ON STRIKE TO FIGHT FOR A LIVING WAGE.

DARYL YOUNG (STRIKING MCDONALDS WORKER)"There’s a lot of people in my situation, or in a worse situation than where I am. And if the wage come through it would help them a lot too. There’s a lot of people out here that have kids they have to support and we can’t really do that with this low income,”

YOUNG SAYS HE JOINED THE CAMPAIGN CALLED FAST FOOD FORWARD TO FIGHT FOR A RAISE TO $15/HOUR AND FOR THE RIGHT TO JOIN A UNION. THE END GOAL IS TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS FOR HIS FAMILY.

DARYL YOUNG (STRIKING MCDONALDS WORKER)

“A better life, a better home, more food on the table, more clothes, its a lot more stuff they need. We just now getting by. It’s a struggle out here. We have no help, no help at all. “

ANOTHER WORKER JOINING THE STRIKE IS RAYMOND LOPEZ. HE’S ALSO A FULL TIME EMPLOYEE AT MCDONALDS AND HAS TWO OTHER JOBS TO MAKE ENDS MEET.

RAYMOND LOPEZ (STRIKING MCDONALDS WORKER)

“I’m a shift manager there and I still make $8.75, I open store, I close store, there’s a bunch of stuff they have taught me how to do, and a bunch of classes I have taken. So when you think about all the work and all the pressure, all the stress, and everything I do, I really think I really do deserve more. Not just me, all the crew members as well. “

LOPEZ AND OTHER WORKERS SAY STRONG PUBLIC SUPPORT HAD HELPED EASE THEIR FEARS OF EMPLOYER RETALIATION.

RAYMOND LOPEZ (STRIKING MCDONALDS WORKER)

“To be honest last night I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I see there’s a lot of people supporting this, I feel a lot safer”

MCDONALDS REPRESENTATIVES AT THE SCENE DECLINED TO COMMENT, BUT PROVIDED FSRN WITH A WRITTEN STATEMENT THAT SAID THE FRANCHISE VALUES ITS EMPLOYEES AND WELCOMES THEIR CONCERNS OR FEEDBACK. IN ADDITION TO PICKETS AND STRIKES AT TWO OTHER MCDONALDS LOCATIONS IN HARLEM AND TIMES SQUARE, ACTIONS ALSO TOOK PLACE AT A PENN STATION BURGER KING AND TWO KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKENS IN BROOKLYN.

THE FAST FOOD FORWARD CAMPAIGN WAS LAUNCHED BY A COALITION OF COMMUNITY, FAITH BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND THE SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION. IT’S THE MOST AMBITIOUS EFFORT EVER UNDERTAKEN TO UNIONIZE WORKERS AT FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS.

JONATHAN WESTIN (NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE)

“At dozens of stores all over this city workers are walking out, are not coming in today, to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union. And we’re here to make that happen. Solidarity.

JONATHAN WESTIN IS ORGANIZING DIRECTOR WITH NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE. THEY’VE MOBILIZED 40 ORGANIZERS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS TO REACH OUT TO FAST FOOD WORKERS ACROSS THE CITY.

JONATHAN WESTIN (NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE)

“Our organizers and the workers themselves have been organizing the stores, have been talking to co workers, have been getting them to sign on to the campaign, and its been long, grueling work, and will continue to be because management will resist and has resisted at several of the locations already but we plan to continue fighting.

THURSDAY’S ACTIONS ALSO COME ON THE HEELS OF VICTORIES FOR NEW YORK ORGANIZED LABOR INCLUDING WITH HOT AND CRUSTY PIZZA WORKERS RECENTLY WINNING THE RIGHT TO JOINING A UNION. WESTIN SAYS ACTIVISTS HOPE TO SEIZE ON PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S RECENT RE-ELCTION AND PUSH HIM TO A MORE PROGRESSIVE APPROACH TO LABOR

JONATHAN WESTIN (NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE)

“Workers are striking today for the first time, but we do hope president Obama understands he plight of what’s going on in low wage industries like Fast Food, like McDonalds, and takes a harder stance when it comes to organizing and holding corporations accountable to raising people’s wages. We definitly want to make sure the next four years are really trying to elevate the fight to improve low wage work and make it a job people can make a living off of. "

ON FRIDAY , LABOR ACTIVISTS WILL ACCOMPANY STRIKING WORKERS BACK TO THEIR JOBS TO PREVENT WORKPLACE INTIMIDATION. REPORTING FOR THE REAL NEWS AND FSRN, THIS IS JAISAL NOOR IN NY.



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