- New York 04/02/2015 by Linda Perry (WBAI)
"Union. $15." That what workers chanted at a rally outside a Midtown Manhattan McDonalds on Thursday.
"If we don’t get it, unionize!"
The Fight for 15 protest by New York City Fast Food Workers followed an announcement on Wednesday by McDonalds that they will raise by the wages of workers for it’s company owned restaurants by $1, but those restaurants only comprise 10% of more than 14,300 locations.
"Mic check .. publicity stunt."
McDonald’s announcement came a day after workers announced they would stage a strike in 200 cities on April 15. Activists criticizing McDonald’s for what they say is a publicity stunt by the company are demanding a raise to $15 an hour for all workers and the right to form a union without retaliation. They say this is so hard-working cooks and cashiers can support their families.
SEIU, the Service Employees International Union which is organizing for $15 an hour, is pressuring McDonald Corp. to take responsibility for labor practices at its franchised locations.
And workers issues are gaining attention on another front.
"Let's go. Let's go NYC."
Build Up NYC: A Rally outside City Hall on Wednesday kicked off the campaign for good jobs in East New York, the Bronx, and all across New York City.
"Zoning, Good Jobs. Zoning, Affordable Housing."
Khalil Balllenger is with Local 40, the Iron Workers.
"Our main concern is when they do affordable housing, a lot of the times it goes to non-union contractors. I live in Spanish Harlem. There's a lot of jobs that are for affordable housing and non-union contractors get it. Most times they don't pay the workers the prevailing wage and they have a lot of unsafe practices.
It's bad for the community too, because you have some high rises going up in your neighborhood and you don't know if the guys that are doing it are licensed or working safe or working dangerous. This is not safe for the workers. It's not safe for the community.
Pollutants could be going into the area and they can be saying they are abating it the right way and they're not. In the union you can say, ok these guys have licenses. They're removing lead the proper way. The workers are getting proper health coverage and they're getting paid the proper wage."
The Build UP NYC campaign is an alliance of working men and women, committed to responsible development and good jobs. It includes political action, outreach, ongoing media campaigns and public actions. Union members say they'll continue to rally as members work to rebuild and protect NYC's middle class.
Thanks to Stop Motion Solo for help with sound on the Fight for 15 story. If you would like to help gather sound and share it with WBAI's communities, please tweet Linda or email Linda@WBAI.org. And thank you.
LP WBAI News, NY