Fast-food workers to get ‘just cause’ protection from firing under NYC Council bills

Fast-food workers to get ‘just cause’ protection from firing under NYC Council bills

Moses Kuwema


The Service Employees International Union 32BJ SEIU has noted that fast food workers deserve to do their jobs without fear of being unable to provide for themselves and their families at a moment's notice

Fast-food workers will get protection from unfair firings, under a bill set to pass in the City Council on Thursday.

Legislation from Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) will bar fast-food joints from laying off employees for any reason other than misconduct or failure to do the job.

In a joint statement Wednesday addressed to New York City council members and signed by union representatives from 1199 SEIU, CWA District 1, District Council 37, Hotel Trades Council, Laborers Local 79, New York State Nurses Association, SEIU International, SEIU Local 200, Taxi Workers Alliance and UNITE HERE Local 100, the unions called for the support of the just cause protections for fast food workers.

"New York City has been at the forefront of passing progressive legislation addressing injustices in the fast food industry, which is why the New York City Council introduced bills to provide just cause protections for fast food workers in order to protect fast food workers from being fired for no reason. 

The legislation also requires that any layoffs necessary due to proven economic reasons will be applied in order of seniority," reads the statement.

The unions said these laws were crucial in order to give essential fast food workers and their families the opportunity to have financial security and lead stable lives.

"We urge you to support this landmark legislation and work to pass intros 1396 and 1415 immediately. These vulnerable workers deserve to do their jobs without fear of being unable to provide for themselves and their families at a moment's notice," the statement adds. 

The unions observed that with the support of elected officials in New York, fast food workers manage to organize themselves to change conditions in their industry and won a $15 minimum wage and a fair work week but that they still faced hardships on the job which have been exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In fact, essential fast food workers can be fired or have their hours reduced, for any or no reason. This forces thousands of New York families to live in constant uncertainty and fear. Currently, workers have no legal recourse if they are fired without just cause," the union observed.

"67,000 fast food workers, predominantly women-of-color, are doing everything we as a society ask of them- up before dawn, commute long hours to work, perform dangerous and physically demanding work; and miss meals with families-just to serve us. 

"In exchange, they are faced with impossible choices: endure hostile and dangerous working conditions, leave or be fired.

"This is unacceptable and these workers deserve the dignity of job security instead of being treated as disposable," concluded the unions.