Home / Politics / This week in the war on workers: New York fast food workers innovate and win

This week in the war on workers: New York fast food workers innovate and win

How about some good news for a change? Workers have their first win under New York City’s groundbreaking law requiring fast food restaurants to let workers sign up for payroll deductions to non-profit, non-union workers’ organizations. The law requires that, before the payroll deductions start, an organization has to have signed up at least 500 workers—and Steven Greenhouse reports that:

One such group, Fast Food Justice, planned to announce on Wednesday that 1,200 New York fast-food workers have signed pledges to contribute $13.50 a month to the organization.

“This has been a lot of hard work, but we think this is great,” said Shantel Walker, who works at a Papa John’s in Brooklyn and is a member the new group. “We want to bring change not only in the fast-food industry, but in our communities.”

The new group will not seek to negotiate contracts as unions do, but its leaders say it will most likely push for a higher minimum wage and for many other issues fast-food workers support, including affordable housing, immigration reform, better police-community relations and improvements to New York’s subway system.

Restaurant industry groups are obviously suing to block the law, saying it’s an intolerable violation of their free speech rights to have to forward their workers’ money to groups representing their workers in ways they, the bosses, wouldn’t choose. But while unions are still out of reach for fast food workers, this is yet another way their years of organizing have paid off.

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