McRaging In NYC (Updates)

Gee, fast food workers walked off the job in an ‘organized’ strike in NYC ala Occupy style, eh? Mad they were being paid at the rate Fast Food workers are paid apparently. Didn’t learn much from the Hostess debacle I see.

I don’t normally link to Salon, but this article was part LOL, part occupy love letter and it kept referring to the ‘organizers’ of the strike, but failed to really nail down who that is beyond this Jonathan Westin character, but we’ll come back to him. Excerpt:

At 6:30 this morning, New York City fast food workers walked off the job, launching a rare strike against a nearly union-free industry. Organizers expect workers at dozens of stores to join the one-day strike, a bold challenge to an industry whose low wages, limited hours and precarious employment typify a growing portion of the U.S. economy.

New York City workers are organizing at McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Papa John’s. Organizers expect today’s strike to include workers from almost all of those chains, with the largest group coming from McDonald’s; the company did not respond to a request for comment.

But employees were clear about their reasons for walking out. “They’re not paying us enough to survive,” McDonald’s worker Raymond Lopez told Salon in a pre-strike interview. Lopez said he decided to join today’s strike because “This company has enough money to pay us a reasonable amount for all that we do … they’re just not going to give it to us as long as they can get away with it. I think we need to be heard.”

Um, you work at a McDonald’s. It’s not a job you will ever get rich at but be thankful you have it? There are millions out of work who would love to have your job – ANY job -  and the fast food industry has a pretty good turn over rate;  i.e., you are replaceable.

Now, back to Mr. Westin:

New York Communities for Change organizing director Jonathan Westin told Salon the current effort is “the biggest organizing campaign that’s happened in the fast food industry.” A team of 40 NYCC organizers have been meeting with workers for months, spearheading efforts to form a new union, the Fast Food Workers Committee. NYCC organizers and fast food workers have been signing up employees on petitions demanding both the chance to organize a union without retaliation and a hefty raise, from near-minimum wages to $15 an hour.

When an NYCC organizer started meeting with McDonald’s workers across from his store, said Lopez, “It was a little difficult for me to believe that it was going to be possible” to change McDonald’s. “I didn’t pay too much attention to it … it took me two or three meetings to start trusting them.” But as the number of workers meeting with NYCC increased, “my faith in this whole deal grew as well.”

Let’s ignore for a moment that minimum wage jobs are well, minimum wage jobs for a reason and that upping all the salaries of these people to $15 will in turn cause the company to hike prices on the consumer and in turn, cut the amount the company can invest, hire more workers or say, cover Obamacare taxes. Let’s talk about who New York Communities for Change (NYCC) is.

NYCC’s own About Page touts this section, which should tell you quite a bit about its roots:

New York Communities for Change is a coalition of working families in low and moderate income communities fighting for social and economic justice throughout New York State. By using direct action, legislative advocacy, and community organizing, NY Communities’ members work to impact the political and economic policies that directly affect us.

Direct Action. Legislative Advocacy. Social and Economic Justice. Community Organizing. I contend NYCC is Occupy 2.0 and using a swanky, legit looking site to operate under. They even have paid strike organizers. I would not be shocked to find union backing also behind the founding of this group. I’d love to prove that, however, much like Occupy — you finding  a contact name on their site to track down is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You have to really dig. So I picked up Mr. Westin’s name courtesy of Salon and started digging through my thousands of bookmarks and did a few searches.

Westin is listed with many others as a registered Lobbyist for NYCC. The head lobbyist listed with these folks is Jon Kest. That name rang an ACORN shaped bell for me. Yep – FORMER ACORN STAFFER. My prior mention to Occupy 2.0 is hereby validated. NY Post from a year ago; bonus Jonathan Westin mentioned:

ACORN’S back — and it’s occupying Wall Street.

The reincarnation of the defunct New York ACORN chapter — a group called New York Communities for Change — is a big supporter of the protesters in Zuccotti Park.

Jon Kest, the former director of New York ACORN, now heads up NYCC, which is located in ACORN’s old headquarters on Nevins Street in Brooklyn.

“It has been amazing watching Occupy Wall Street grow over the past two weeks,” Kest said in a Sept. 30 statement on NYCC’s Web site.

ACORN disbanded in 2010 after the release of embarrassing videos showing the group’s workers coaching conservative activists who were posing as clients how to fraudulently obtain benefits and use them to open a brothel.

Fox News reported yesterday that NYCC has been paying “dozens” of homeless people $10 an hour to sit in Zuccotti Park. The report also said NYCC canvassers go door-to-door asking for money for other causes like PCB relief in schools — with the money funneled back to OWS.

Jonathan Westin, NYCC’s organizing director and a former ACORN organizer, denied the reports.

“In no way are we paying people to protest at Occupy Wall Street,” Westin said, adding that no donations were solicited under false pretenses.

Right Scoop had more on Mr. Westin and his love of Occupy, paying protesters to carry signs and the Ollie North style shredding at their offices. Not one word of Westin’s past made it into the Salon article. Go figure.

Westin’s Twitter Account here.

Here’s an article by Jon Kest himself at HuffPo talking about why they (NYCC) are joining Occupy Wall Street. Kest has been the driving force behind #occupysandy. To him it is personal and sad; I do feel badly for his loss. From The Nation:

In New York City, 750,000 people remain without power, large areas are still submerged under water and at least eighteen people have been killed, including the daughter of New York Communities for Change’s Executive Director Jon Kest. Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman were killed when they went outside to walk their dog during the storm.

O.K., had enough yet?  I bet if one dug further, we’d find them actually having been at Occupy Wall Street. This is Occupy 2.0: the respectable,community organized version with a snazzy storefront website. Underneath, it’s just occupiers and former ACORN staffers pushing Obama’s class warfare rhetoric. Meanwhile Occupy 1.0 will be back when the weather breaks to destroy more private property and throw fire bombs at police.  I won’t hold my breath for Salon to update their article with backgrounds of these men behind NYCC.

UPDATE:

Via a Twitter conversation I had with Mandy Nagy (@Liberty_Chick), my guess work that unions were behind this thing are confirmed. Check out this tweet’s link to a petition called “Higher pay for a stronger NY”. See the SEIU in the link title? Fail. Now hit that petition’s privacy page. Note the address: Fast Food Workers Committee at 2 – 4 Nevins St., 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11217. Now, return to the NYCC Lobbyist search page. Same address.  Union backing confirmed. (The conversation Tweet thread here.)

 

Update by Zilla:

This post is linked at The Lonely Conservative. Thanks, TLC!

This post is linked at Doug Ross. Thank you, Doug!

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