Inside the Fast-Food Labor Protests | The New Yorker

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McDonalds Protest - The New Yorker - Washington Heights

A demonstration by fast-food workers last week in Manhattan. One recent study found that fifty-two per cent of fast-food workers require some form of public assistance. (Photo: Mark Peterson | Redux)

For the customers, nothing has changed in the big, busy McDonald’s on Broadway at West 181st Street, in Washington Heights. Promotions come and go—during the World Cup, the French-fry package was suddenly not red but decorated with soccer-related “street art,” and, if you held your phone up to the box, it would download an Augmented Reality app that let you kick goals with the flick of a finger. New menu items appear—recently, the Jalapeño Double and the Bacon Clubhouse, or, a while back, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. But a McDonald’s is a McDonald’s. This one is open twenty-four hours. It has its regulars, including a panel of older gentlemen who convene at a row of tables near the main door, generally wear guayaberas, and deliberate matters large and small in Spanish. The restaurant doesn’t suffer as much staff turnover as you might think. Mostly the same employees, mostly women, in black uniforms and gold-trimmed black visors, toil and serve and banter with the customers year after year. The longtime manager, Dominga de Jesus, bustles about, wearing a bright-pink shirt and a worried look, barking at her workers, “La linea! La linea! ”

Behind the counter, though, a great deal has changed in the past two years. Among the thirty-five or so non-salaried employees, fourteen, at last count, have thrown in their lot with Fast Food Forward, the New York branch of a growing campaign to unionize fast-food workers. Underneath the lighted images of Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, back between the deep fryer and the meat freezer, the clamshell grill and the egg station, the order screens and the endless, hospital-like beeping of timers, there have been sharp and difficult debates about the wisdom of demanding better pay and forming a union.

Most of the workers here make minimum wage, which is eight dollars an hour in New York City, and receive no benefits. Rosa Rivera, a grandmother of four who has worked at McDonald’s for fourteen years, makes eight dollars and fifty cents. Exacerbating the problem of low pay in an expensive city, nearly everyone is effectively part time, getting fewer than forty hours of work a week. And none of the employees seem to know, from week to week, when, exactly, they will work. The crew-scheduling software used by McDonald’s is reputed to be sophisticated, but to the workers it seems mindless and opaque. The coming week’s schedule is posted on Saturday evenings. Most of those who, like Rivera, have sided with the union movement—going out on one-day wildcat strikes, marching in midtown protests—suspect that they have been penalized by managers with reductions in their hours. But just-in-time scheduling is not easy to analyze.

Read more: Inside the Fast-Food Labor Protests.

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Get Yours: The Freedom City Fall Collection

Freedom City Fall Collection - Red Button Down

The good folks at Freedom City recently released their Fall Collection. Spread love and hit them up on the link below.

Check out: http://freedomcitynyc.com/

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Monday Mood Music: Makarel Ft. Dave East & Dark ATM – Puttin That Work In

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The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, and the Palisades | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

By C. Griffith Mann

Photograph taken looking north toward The Cloisters, April 13, 1938, a month before it opened

Photograph taken looking north toward The Cloisters, April 13, 1938, a month before it opened.

On my walks to and from work, I have often noted how people from the neighborhoods surrounding The Cloisters museum and gardens gather in the evenings in Fort Tryon Park to watch the sun as it dips below the Palisades to the west. People jogging, pushing strollers, walking dogs, sitting on benches, or lounging on blankets in the grass are all drawn to the sweeping vistas over the Hudson River. This view, long protected from large-scale development, is now under threat. LG, the Korean electronics company, is in the process of creating a corporate headquarters directly across the river from The Cloisters. In this post, I am not only hoping to build greater awareness of this project but am asking people to get involved in convincing LG to revise its plans, which would alter these majestic views for future generations. While this is an issue that we care deeply about at the museum, it also has broader implications for all who come to this corner of Manhattan seeking temporary relief from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

From its beginnings, The Cloisters was intimately connected with the lands around it. The rocky, wild site of the museum, emulating the remote setting of a medieval monastery, dramatically accentuated the sense of being transported in time and place. At the public opening of The Cloisters on May 10, 1938, one of the key celebrants was John D. Rockefeller, Jr. His vision and philanthropy had not only brought the museum into being, but had created the surrounding Fort Tryon Park. Whether from the ramparts of the newly completed building or from the long walkways along the park’s western slopes, the project took full advantage of the unparalleled views up and down the Hudson River and west toward the Palisades.

Read more:  The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, and the Palisades | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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The Uptown Tweet of the Week

Damien Mitchell Street Art - Inwood

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Indiegogo Spotlight: Mari en Maraña

Indiegogo - Mari En Marana

Mari en Maraña – A Short Film

The Breakdown

A Dominican college freshman finds her first break heating up when a chance encounter with a Haitian stranger leads to turmoil at her grandmother’s 90th birthday party. The lowdown is uptown: “Romeo & Juliet”, Heights-certified.

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