The Corner

‘Yes We Can!’: Labor Groups Protest NYC McDonald’s

Labor groups held 30 protests against McDonald’s franchises across the country Tuesday. The focus of today’s protests is “wage theft,” part of an ongoing campaign to raise the federal minimum wage. 

In New York City, organizers chose to protest the McDonald’s at 33rd Street and 5th Avenue, across from the Empire State Building. 

The protest was planned for 11:30 am, but protestors did not show up on time. Around 11:45, reporters found protestors eating a late-morning meal and drinking coffee at a Wendy’s restaurant next door to McDonald’s.

When asked which fast food restaurant the wage theft opponents would protest next, one protestor responded, “All of them!” 

Protestors moved from brunch at Wendy’s to protesting at the neighboring McDonald’s. The protestors poured in to occupy the McDonald’s, with a large number of reporters following close behind.

The store manager quickly assembled what police officers he could find to kick out media members, but this reporter was able to order a coffee and sit in a booth as a paying customer. About 100 protestors and customers filled the lobby, and police moved to shut down the restaurant.

When restaurant operations stopped, a bearded and handcuffed Ronald McDonald was brought in to lead chants of “Yes we can! and “Every nickel every dime, we deserve our overtime!” 

Before the crowd could get too rowdy, police escorted the protestors to a designated picket line. 

As the crowd filed into place, protestors took turns speaking to the press. New York City Public Advocate Tish James stood next to the handcuffed Ronald McDonald and voiced her support for the action against a New York City business. 

“It’s hard enough for fast food workers to survive in this economy,” James said, and promised to push legislation to create a “wage theft” hotline.

While Tuesday’s protest in New York City was reported by AP to be smaller than previous years’ demonstrations, protestors can take solace in the steep minimum wage hike — from $7.25 to $8 — that took effect in the Big Apple January 1. New York’s minimum wage will hit $9 in 2015. 

During National Review’s interview with Papa John’s employee Shantel Walker, an organizer interrupted to ensure Walker was prepared to speak with the press. When this reporter continued speaking with Walker, the organizer ended the interview. This reporter was directed to the picket line, where workers were said to be “more than happy” to be interviewed.

None of the ten protestors National Review interviewed worked at the McDonald’s being protested. None of the employees of that location joined the protest.

Three black-leather-clad French women asked National Review what the protest was about. When they appeared not to understand that it was a minimum wage protest, this reporter raised his hands and shouted “Rah rah, give us more money.” The three visitors to the United States nodded and walked away.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More