Hundreds of fast-food workers walked off the job and hit the streets Monday, demanding higher wages.
About 500 workers from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and other popular restaurants protested throughout the city as part of the national Fast Food Forward movement. Similar rallies took place in other cities Monday and more are set to be held later this week.
The protesters said it is impossible to live in New York City on minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour, and the corporations need to evolve when it comes to their paychecks.
"When you have a family and work in the fast-food industry, you just have to forget about it," said Greg Reynoso, 27, a former Domino's Pizza employee who now organizes his peers.
There were three major rallies in Manhattan, the first in the morning at a midtown McDonald's at 1651 Broadway, the second at a Financial District Wendy's at noon and the third at Union Square in the afternoon.
"Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Seven twenty-five has got to go," they chanted.
Protesters also were outside a McDonald's restaurant near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and in other boroughs.
There were no arrests or major disturbances during the rallies.
Several officials who are up for election this year stood in support with the protesters, including mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn, who both have pushed for help for low-income workers.
"This is a crucial organizing effort. We cannot have a tale of two cities," de Blasio said.
In a statement, New York State Restaurant Association spokesman Andrew Moesel said the chain owners respect their workers and have to deal with a recovering economy.
"In an already low-margin business, restaurant operators will soon be required to offer paid sick leave and to pay for health care," Moesel said.
He added that the state is going to raise the minimum wage over the next three years.
With The Associated Press