NYU’s Student Labor Action Movement protested for higher wages at the McDonald’s on Broadway and Sixth Avenue on Wednesday. SLAM demonstrated in support of the Fight for $15 Campaign, which stands against McDonald’s business practices and has erupted into a nationwide crusade for minimum wage workers of all industries since November 2012.
SLAM has been in contact with the Fight for $15 Campaign organizers for two years and meets regularly with them. CAS junior Anne Falcon, a member of SLAM, said she has heard a lot of stories from the campaign about workers who are struggling to make ends meet, particularly those who work in the fast food industry.
“This one guy was talking about how he has to make a choice every day between paying for a subway ride back from work or walking three hours to get home so that he could buy his daughter a gallon of milk,” Falcon said.
The average fast food worker’s salary is $8.75 per hour, which Steinhardt senior Victor Li said is not a liveable wage.
“New York City is a very expensive city to live in, but the minimum wage everywhere is just inadequate,” Li said. “Ideally, students and workers would be paid more than $15 an hour. What we’re asking for is essentially bare minimum.”
Li said a larger portion of fast food workers have families to provide for and need a higher wage to survive.
“A larger portion of fast food workers are not teenagers, they’re parents, they’re adults, they’re people trying to make a living,” Li said.
McDonalds recently responded to the campaign by raising the wages for their U.S. restaurant workers by 10 percent on Wednesday. However, the raise does not apply to employees of McDonald’s franchises, which make up about 90 percent of McDonald’s stores. Steinhardt senior Cayden Betzig said the raises promised by McDonalds are not enough.
“The pressure is already building, and we can see that in these concessions that McDonald’s has made,” Betzig said. “We need to put more pressure on them to get the concessions we need.”
Gallatin junior Robert Ascherman has been to several McDonald’s protests prior to SLAM’s demonstrations Wednesday and said that generally, workers support the protests.
“The interaction is usually really, really good,” Ascherman said. “Workers will come out and start dancing, and the customers seem interested.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 2 print edition. Email Amanda Morris at [email protected]