Fast Food Workers Strike In NYC
Employees from America’s popular fast food chains - McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s - across New York walked out on Monday in a one-day strike demanding higher wages and the right to unionize. Their hope is for minimum wage to double from $7.25 to $15 an hour and put an end to what activist called, “abusive labor practices.”
“It’s noisy, it’s really hot, fast, they rush you. Sometimes you don’t even get breaks. All for $7.25? It’s crazy,” said Nathalia Sepulveda, who works at a McDonald’s opposite Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where one protest took place.
Outside of the McDonald’s and Wendy’s in lower Manhattan, employees repeated the mantra, “we can’t survive on $7.25,” and witty retort, “Supersize our wages.” At the Wendy’s locations, the mob shouted at customers to avoid the restaurant and two police officers were stationed inside.
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There were hundreds of people who participated in locations throughout New York. Similar strikes are planned across the nation this week, organized by the national Fast Food Forward Campaign, which launched last year as an attempt to tackle low wages.
“The workers’ actions will lift up all of New York City,” says campaign director Jonathon Westin “If they have more money in their pockets, they’ll spend it right here, helping to boost the entire economy.”
Doubling minimum wage would have a “significant effect on the private sector’s ability to create jobs, especially those typically filled by first-time workers and teens,” said Scott DeFife of the National Restaurant Association.
Glenda Soto, 35, a single mother supporting four children said that though she works full-time and often puts in 13-hour days at the Bronx McDonald’s, money is a constant headache. “My rent is going up in September,” she said. “We are already living paycheck to paycheck.”
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”