Striking workers, allies and supporters, and a healthy group of reporters formed the crowd outside of a midtown Manhattan Wendy's restaurant Thursday at lunchtime, as hundreds of workers at dozens of New York City fast food restaurants went on strike. CNN and Telemundo were among the media outlets represented, suggesting that this strike, the larger follow-up to November's historic action involving 200 workers, is being taken seriously as news. And if the fast food chains being targeted by the strikes don't take it seriously, well, one of the workers present on this chilly spring day put it this way: "If we're out here in this weather, we'll definitely be out here when it's nice and sunny in the summertime."
Several of the workers formed a circle, leading each other in spirited chants of "We want change and we don't mean pennies" and "We can't survive on $7.25"—the minimum wage, and the wage many of them are paid even after years of experience. They were joined by supporters from other unions and the community. And the workers rallying at this location are part of a broader movement. Organizers say 400 workers at 70 restaurants are likely to have joined the strike by the end of the day, and Twitter is filled with reports from several midday rallies:
Just spoke w 21 year old Naquasia Legrand, who said that its difficult to even afford bread and milk on $7.25/hr. #fastfoodfwd
— @mollyknefel via Twitter for Android
Some workers did face retaliation after the last strike, and anticipate it this time as well. But plans are being made to support them as they return to work Friday:
Antonio Reynoso, running for council in Wmsburg/Bushwick, adopted a Dominos in his dist. & will walk workers back tomorrow. #fastfoodfwd
— @sarahljaffe via Twitter for Android
Many of New York's fast food workers stand to get a raise when the state minimum wage rises to $9.00. But $9.00 isn't enough to live on in New York City, especially not at the part-time hours many of the workers are limited to by their bosses. Workers will have reason to keep fighting—and the workers joining together on strike seem fired up and ready to carry on.