In the past year, Buffalo’s fast food workers have scored huge victories in the Fight for 15 campaign, which began in New York City three years ago and has spread nationally. Starting in December, 2014, low-wage fast food workers joined statewide rallies and strikes to advocate for an industry-wide $15 per hour wage.
In July, 2015, a Wage Board called by Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended meeting these demands, and a state oversight board upheld this decision on December 9th. (For a detailed timeline, see the infographic below.) Buffalo is the 4th poorest city in the US, and multi-billion dollar fast food chains take millions in profits from our communities while paying their workers poverty-level wages, leaving many with no choice but to sign up for food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of public assistance.
This past week, Governor Cuomo signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and 12-week paid family leave policy. This historic legislation comes as a result of workers, advocates, labor leaders, and elected officials coming together to champion the cause of dignity, fairness, and economic justice.
Still, there’s work left to do.
The workers’ protests, timed to hit just before Tax Day, will zero in on McDonald’s, highlighting how the world’s second-largest employer and the industry leader in the fast food and service economies is driving a race to the bottom that is undercutting wages across the economy and resulting in nearly 64 million workers being paid less than $15. Their struggle is our struggle. Join the movement.