Bill de Blasio, the leading candidate in this year’s mayor’s race, held a press conference in front of a Burger King today.
His issue? The low wages of fast-food industry workers.
“It is right, it is right for leaders in government to step up on behalf of these workers and help them organize to win their rights,” said Mr. de Blasio, who was the crowd-favorite when he and his then-Democratic opponents rallied for the same cause back in August.
In a short speech to advocates, including members of New York Communities for Change, Mr. de Blasio called for higher wages so that taxpayer dollars would no longer be needed to subsidize workers in the form of public assistance programs.
According to numbers cited by the campaign, the government spends about $700 million a year to compensate workers living in poverty, which the candidate said leaves “a huge impact on the government budget that are obviously already strapped.” Recent reports indicate the majority of those using this welfare are fast food workers.
“We now have an economy for many people based on the notion that work literally will not pay the bills,” he argued. “These workers deserve the right to representation. They deserve the right to unionization so they can have decent wages and benefits—and the companies involved pay what is appropriate, [so] people can feed their families and the taxpayers are not left footing the bill.”
“The bottom line is this is an unsupportable situation,” he concluded as the crowd cheered.