Not only did Walmart workers go on strike during Black Friday, but on Thursday hundreds of fast food workers walked off the job in New York City demanding higher wages and a right to unionize. The campaign is called Fast Food Forward, and is organized by the community group New York Communities for Change with support from United New York, the Black Institute, and the Service Employees International Union.
Workers are demanding that their wages be increased to $15 an hour. Currently the median pay for fast food workers in New York City is $9 an hour, which comes out to $18,500 a year for a full-time employee. However, many employees are part-time workers, and the average yearly salary of fast food workers in New York City is $11,000. The federal poverty line for a family of four is $23,050, which means that many fast food workers are in poverty and have to rely on government assistance.
Not everyone in that fast food industry is suffering. Last year the top 15 fast food chains generated a combined $115 billion in sales, and the average daily salary of fast food CEO’s is $25,000. A recent study by the National Employment Law Project found that most of the largest low-wage employers have not only recovered from the recession but are in a strong financial position. The profits, however, are not benefiting workers, and 57.4% of the fast food industry is low-wage, while the average salary salary for top executives is $9.4 million.