In Brooklyn and Manhattan, fast food workers began striking on the morning of Thursday, December 4 to demand a living hourly wage of $15 and the right to unionize, reports ABC Eyewitness News.
Across the country, thousands of workers in at least 150 cities are expected to join in on Thursday during the latest planned protests that have spanned two years, and have often triggered global protests in solidarity.
In New York City, protesters in downtown Brooklyn and lower Manhattan — including fast food, healthcare, and airport service workers —will march to City Hall.
In Washington, fast food workers and others in the service industry are also expected to walk out and demand presidential action toward the right to unionize and earn a minimum of $15 an hour. The United States minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and other members of Congress are expected to join the workers in Washington.
“We hope today’s actions continue to empower millions more restaurant workers -- the women forced put up with sexual harassment regularly because they get $0 paychecks and live entirely off tips, the mothers who have to work two or three jobs to make sure they can put food on the table for their children, workers of color who routinely lose promotions and interviews to lesser qualified white candidates -- to stand up for the right to work with dignity and get paid a living wage.
“It’s crucial that we recognize that the fight for workers’ rights and civil rights are one and the same. The majority of the absolute worst paying jobs in the country are restaurant jobs. It is not a coincidence that the restaurant industry is also the largest employer of people of color, or that women make up the majority of people forced to live off tips, getting paid a subminimum wage as low as $2.13 an hour by their employers. The largest full-service restaurant corporation in the world, Darden Restaurants, could start all their workers at $15 an hour for just an extra dime on every $5 in sales. The corporate resistance to paying a living wage is not because they cannot afford to do it, it’s because they just don’t want to. By standing together to demand the restaurant industry do right by all their workers and pay a living wage, we’re demanding our humanity be prioritized above corporate profits and bloated CEO salaries. We’re all in this together.”