Fast Food Workers Walk Off Jobs in Hartford, New Haven

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Protesters in Hartford and New Haven say they are seeking $15 per hour. (Published Thursday, Dec 5, 2013)

    If you normally stop at Dunkin Donuts, Subway or another fast food restaurant on your way to work, you might need to make other plans today.

    Fast food workers in Hartford and New Haven are joining a 100-city strike today in the quest for $15 an hour wages and the right to form a union without retaliation.

    The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, called the demonstrations a "campaign engineered by national labor groups," and said the vast majority of participants were union protesters rather than workers.

    Workers said they're struggling to provide basic necessities for them and their children.

    "People are working, slaving, working so hard, and yet not making enough to cover ends meet [sic] without having government assistance,"  said Briana Fernandez, who said she was fired from a McDonald's restaurant for taking a sick day.

    “These workers live in complete poverty. They work for the richest corporations in the country. This is a $200 billion industry," said Kendall Fells, an organizer with Fast Food Forward.

    Workers went on strike Thursday outside a Dunkin Donuts and Subway restaurant in Hartford.

    "We're nobody," said fast food worker Josh Griffin. "We need somebody to speak up for us. We need somebody behind us to support us. And we need to get wages that we can live upon."

    Nationwide, workers went on strike from major national fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC.

    But there are two sides the coin – economics professionals said higher wages would likely have a domino effect and result in a higher-priced product.

    "If you increase the minimum wage to $15, the price of a Big Mac will increase by, I think, 62 cents," said University of New Haven Economics Department Chair Kamal Upadhyaya. "You have to be willing to pay more."

    McDonald's responded to the strike by issuing a statement on Thursday.

    "We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay, and benefits," the statement reads.