Tompkins living wage activists will hold vigils at 15 area fast food restaurants

January 17, 2016 by Rachel Cera

New York State's minimum wage for fast food workers went up to $9.75 this month, and that's one of the reasons area living wage activists are planning vigils at 15 local fast food restaurants tomorrow.

Protesters at a McDonald's in Minnesota fight for a $15 minimum wage. Photo by Fibonacci Blue.Protesters at a McDonald's in Minnesota fight for a $15 minimum wage. Photo by Fibonacci Blue.The Tompkins County Workers Center says they want to make sure everyone who works at a fast food restaurant in Tompkins County knows about the new $9.75 minimum wage, continue building a groundswell in support of a living wage for all workers in the county, and honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

"Over 180,000 working families will see this increase in their first paychecks of the year," said Carl Feuer, a workers rights advocate at the Tompkins County Workers Center, as the new minimum wage went into effect. It amounts to a $1 per hour raise, or 11%, over the 2015 minimum wage. (In New York City, the minimum wage for fast food workers is $10.50.)

"No one who works all day and all week should find on the weekend that they don’t have enough in their pocket to support themselves and their families," says TCWC coordinator Pete Meyers of the living wage campaign. "A full time job should not be a route to poverty, but a path to opportunity."

The group is coordinating vigils at fast food restaurants throughout Ithaca and beyond, including at the Five Guys and Taco Bell at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza; Chipotle, Wendy's, Moe's, and McDonald's in Ithaca's southwest, Dunkin' Donuts in Ithaca's west end; Burger King at East Hill Plaza; Starbucks, Domino's, and Jimmy John's in downtown Ithaca; plus McDonald's, Auntie Anne's, and Subway in Lansing; McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts in Dryden; and Subway in Trumansburg.

Meyers quotes Dr. King as saying, "There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American whether he [or she] is a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer."

The "informational pickets" are planned for 3:30-4:30pm on Monday, January 18th. The Tompkins County Workers Center encourages area residents to get in touch to volunteer to participate.

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