Last month, Jorel Ware sat down in the middle of 8th Avenue, and was arrested in front of his McDonald’s managers and co-workers. At 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Ware will again walk out of the midtown store where he's worked for two years,
Jorel will join workers in 190 cities to rally for a $15 a hour minimum wage, the least they say a person can live on in 2014. City fast food workers will be joined by baggage handlers and other employees at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
“I’ve always worked, and I’ve always struggled,” said Ware, 31, who lives in The Bronx, and worked warehouse jobs before McDonald's. Now, he works about 30 hours a week and takes home about $180. He has to choose among paying his phone bill, buying groceries or paying for his hotel room.
"It has to get better, but we have to fight to get it better," said Ware, who was the first worker at his store to join the fast food worker movement. Since then, Ware said he's convinced about 70 percent of his co-workers -- but no managers -- to rally with him.
James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute, said raising the minimum wage improves the broader economy by adding jobs, and giving lower wage workers more money to spend.
“It’s pretty clear this has a positive individual and overall economic impact,” Parrott said.
Parrott said numbers released on Tuesday by the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement found 42 percent -- or 2.7 million people -- of New York City households don’t make enough money to cover a family's basic needs - food, shelter, health and child care.