Albany, NY – Today in cities across the U.S., busboys, cooks and cashiers from McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants walked off the job for a nationwide Labor Day action. Locally, fast food workers, joined by, Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assemblyman Phil Steck, and Congressman Paul Tonko marched to McDonalds to demand a $15 minimum wage, and Union rights.

The Labor Day strikes and protests cap a summer of victories for the Fight for $15 in cities across the country. In May, fast-food cooks and cashiers in New York City who won a landmark $15 an hour minimum wage in 2015 secured the passage of new laws curbing abusive scheduling practices at companies like McDonald’s and paving the way for fast-food workers to join together in their own organization. The organization legislation – the first of its kind – will allow workers to continue their fight for higher wages, benefits and stronger communities, and could serve as a model for fast-food workers in other cities across the country.

“It’s time for corporations to pay their workers a fair wage”, said Liz James, Citizen Action Member and Fast Food Worker. “ Fast food workers have every right to make a living wage. We have families and homes we have to take care of. We won’t allow for corporations to hoard the wealth and take advantage of workers”

“Now more than ever, fast food workers across the country needs unions,” said Jacqui Jordan, Citizen Action Member. “Organized labor has always been at the forefront of worker rights, that’s why corporations, and the super-rich are trying to stop us from organizing, and that’s why we need to fight harder than ever to get every worker a union.”

Since launching on Nov. 29, 2012, the Fight for $15 has spurred wage hikes totaling more than $62 billion for 22 million underpaid workers, including more than 10 million who are on their way to $15 an hour, by convincing everyone from voters to politicians to corporations to raise pay. Workers have taken what many viewed as an outlandish proposition – $15 an hour– and made it the new labor standard in New York, California, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. Home care workers in Massachusetts and Oregon won $15 an hour statewide minimum wages and companies including Facebook, Aetna, Amalgamated Bank, JP Morgan Chase and Nationwide Insurance have raised pay to $15 an hour or higher.

Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots, community organization with over 30,000 members across New York State. The organization works on issues important to our communities, including limiting the influence of money in politics, guaranteeing livable wages and economy-boosting jobs, quality public education for all children, reforms to the criminal justice system, and more. Citizen Action endorses candidates for public office who support the same vision for a New York that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.