Fast food workers strike to supersize wages

A worker watches as other Wendy's workers protest outside.

Flipping burgers should come with more than seven bucks an hour.

That’s what hundreds of fast-food workers said today, when they took a day to protest outside of dozens of fast food establishments because of wages they say are far too low.

The campaign, called Fast Food Forward, is boosted by fair-wage advocates and aims to start a union and ask for $15 an hour – about twice what Linda Archer makes now.

Archer, 59, told Metro that she is living “paycheck to paycheck” on that salary, which bumped up 80 cents in the two-and-a-half years she has worked at McDonald’s.

“There’s no security in it,” she said. She got three paid vacation days, she said, but has no health care or paid sick days.

“You can’t even afford to get sick, “ she said.

The Bronx resident was one of dozens that walked out of places like Wendy’s, Taco Bell and a McDonald’s in Times Square, where Archer works weekend shifts.

Organizers say this was the first time fast-food workers had every walked out of kitchens in New York.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and other city officials lauded the walkout, saying, “We need nothing less than a citywide movement to uplift New Yorkers struggling to make their way into the middle class.”

In a statement, a McDonald’s spokeswoman said that the company keeps an “open dialogue” with employees.

“McDonald’s values our employees and has consistently remained committed to them, so in turn they can provide quality service to our customers. We … always encourage them to express any concerns or provide feedback, so we can continue to be an even better employer.”

Hoping to double a paycheck

Archer started working at the Times Square McDonald’s two and a half years ago, starting at $7.25 and now making $8.05, she said, after two 40-cent raises. The location constantly has “lines out the door,” she said. “You’re constantly busy. The pressure’s on. … it’s pretty stressful.” She applies for other jobs, she said, but the online job applications only give an automated confirmation, and when she arrives in person, they tell her to apply online. She hopes to about double her wages, from $8 to the $15 the workers are demanding. “That would change my life.” She hopes to take classes to eventually work in the justice system. Despite being just a windowpane away from her bosses yesterday, she said she was not worried about retaliation. “I’m on $7 an hour,” she said. “What can I lose?”


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