Junk wages aren’t good for you

Social Action 2014

Peter Rugh looks at the issues driving the organizing by fast-food workers.

Chicago retail workers on the march during a day of walkouts and solidarity actions (Carole Ramsden | SW)Chicago retail workers on the march during a day of walkouts and solidarity actions (Carole Ramsden | SW)

WHILE PRESIDENT Obama continues his economic speaking tour, walkouts at fast-food restaurants rippled across cities nationwide in late July and early August, calling attention to the nation’s growing wealth gap. At the franchise stores of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and KFC and other grease-slinging corporations, thousands of people protested the low wages dished out by the biggest names in the industry and raised a common demand: $15 an hour and the right to unionize.

“We are all going through the same thing,” said Naquasia LeGrand, who works at a KFC franchise in Brooklyn and has emerged as one of the most outspoken voices in what is emerging as a national campaign. “We get burns from deep fryers. We…

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