For months now, a coalition of community and labor activists have been pushing for the (perhaps impossible) dream of unionizing fast food workers in New York City, or at least getting them a living wage. Yesterday, some of those fast food workers pleaded their case to the City Council. Here's something worth remembering before your evening KFC.
Many fast food workers in one of the most expensive cities in the world are still paid minimum wage. The refrain of picketing fast food workers in the city has been, "We can't survive on $7.25!" What kind of life do we offer to the person who rings us up at McDonald's, full time?
The economic reality for the city’s fast-food workers is bleak. According to the advocacy group New York Communities for Change, fast-food workers in the city make on average between $10,000 and $18,000 a year, well below the Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of about $23,000 for a family of four.
Even in the average city, workers making that little are spending the majority of their income on rent. In a city like New York, that's little more than a sentence to a lifelong struggle.