The New York City Council and 32BJ SEIU (The Service Employees International Union) held a press conference Tuesday morning in front of City Hall to introduce a package of bills which aim to provide NYC fast food workers a fair work week and a $15/hour hourly wage.
Although the press conference mainly addressed fast food workers’ concerns, other hospitality workers, including concierges at hotels and residential buildings were also on site to show their support.
Speakers at the press conferences included Shantel Walker and Alvin Major, both long-time advocates for fast food workers, City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Corey Johnson, and Sherry Leiwant, co-president of A Better Balance, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people at all income levels take care better care of their families without losing their financial security.
The fight for $15 hourly rate began four years ago, and the issue of a fair work week emerged soon after. To a lot of people working in the fast food industry, indeed those working in retail industry in general, a fair work week means receiving schedules two weeks in advance; avoiding back-to-back, on-call scheduling; having access to more hours; getting sick days; and being able to request schedule change without the fear of retaliation.
Currently, “twenty percent of the fast food worker do not know their schedule 24 hours before they go to work,” said one of the city council members. A predictable work schedule will enable fast food workers to make plans for their families, take care of family emergencies, take on leisure activities, or even find other jobs they deem necessary.
The package also includes the Fast Food Empowerment Act, the first of its kind in the country., which once passed, will allow fast food workers to legally form non-profit organizations.
Th Fast Food Empowerment Act also calls for the employers to make a paycheck deduction of voluntary contributions to a non-profit organization if the employee wishes to do so.
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