A reporter who covered Thursday’s protests by fast-food workers in New York City told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz the demonstrations had a clear effect on local chain restaurants.
“I think it scared the heck out of the bosses,” said Sarah Jaffe, who wrote about the Fast Food Forward campaign for The Atlantic. “All the workers went back to work [Friday]. They were accompanied by elected officials, they were accompanied by clergy, community leaders, and all but one were accepted back with no problems.”
Jaffe mentioned that the one employee who was fired, from a Wendy’s in Brooklyn, was rehired following what The Village Voice reported as “hours of protesting and boycotting.”
The demonstrations were the latest step in the Fast Food Forward campaign, designed to organize fast-food employees into a union and push for them to get a living wage, led to a series of walkouts at restaurants around the city, and support from some members of the city council.
“#Wendy’s now under protest, virtually shut down,” Councilman Jumaane Williams tweeted Thursday morning. “Let’s move #fastfoodfwd!” Can’t survive on $7.25. Instead of firing let’s talk…or else!
The median age for a fast food employee, Schultz noted, was 28 years old, with 66 percent of employees being women over the age of 32. And most of the industry labor corps is held under 40 hours a week, so companies can avoid paying employees full medical benefits, a set of working conditions that both Jaffe and Schultz said resembled that of Walmart employees, who held their own demonstrations around the country last week.
“I think everybody knows, right?” Jaffe said. “The workers at Walmart know it, the workers at McDonald’s and Burger King in New York know it. Everybody knows that corporations are doing just fine, and that the rest of us are getting squeezed.”
Watch Jaffe’s interview with Schultz, as aired Friday on MSNBC, below.