Karina McClain, a cashier at fast food chain Checkers in New York City, didn't show up for her shift on Thursday.
Instead, the 22 year-old joined about 100 other people outside of a Brooklyn Wendy's restaurant calling for an hourly wage increase to $15 an hour. She was holding a sign that read "Raise pay, live better."
"I have bills to pay and we don't get enough money," said McClain, who makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and works 20 hours a week. Missing out on a day's pay would be hard for McClain, who can barely pay for diapers and clothes for her five-month old daughter Kamayah.
Fast food protests aren't going away.
Organizers say fast food restaurant workers in 100 U.S. cities will walk off the job Thursday, as part of a continuing push to raise wages above $15 an hour in the industry and secure the right to unionize.
The movement began with a small walkout in New York City last year and has since gathered momentum. Strikes this past August drew fast food workers in 60 cities, organizers said.
The National Restaurant Association contends that the demonstrations are a "coordinated PR campaign engineered by national labor groups," and that "relatively few restaurant workers have participated" in past demonstrations.
Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pot in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.
When the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 16,000 earlier this month, headlines throughout the country trumpeted the milestone as a sign of recovery for the economy.
Away from Wall Street, among the working poor in America's suburbs, small towns and larger metropolitan areas, the trumpets of a thriving economy do not sound. What we too often hear in the back streets and even on some main streets is the drumbeat of the desperate, or the plaintive strings of hope postponed.
Editor's note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House.
I love Thanksgiving. I love everything about it: gathering three generations around the table, pausing for a moment with heads bowed to thank God for our abundant blessings, carrying a tradition across the centuries, watching my beloved Texas Longhorns play football. I even love clanging the pots and scraping the plates afterward. And I especially love the eating. We are traditionalists in my family, so it's turkey and stuffing, and three kinds of pie.
I am hoping this year to add one more item to the menu: a small serving of conscience. For as we gorge ourselves, Congress is contemplating drastic cuts in food aid for the least of our brethren. Food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for the Poor, or SNAP, help poor people eat - simple as that.
Jamie Ordonez is one of the lucky retail employees who will enjoy Thanksgiving Day without having to rush to work. But a brother-in-law who works at Medieval Times isn't as lucky.
The Lyndhurst, New Jersey, castle is open for a 5 p.m. show on Thanksgiving Day, which means Ordonez's family is eating dinner around noon to accommodate his schedule. And, it's not the only Thanksgiving Day joust on the calendar; shows are scheduled in all nine Medieval Times castles in North America, with most offering discounted tickets.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the host of The Post Punk Kitchen and author of multiple vegan cookbooks, including her most recent, "Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes For Every Day Of The Week." And yes, there are recipes if you scroll down.
Chances are you have a vegan in your life - a real dyed-in-the-natural-fiber-cruelty-free-wool vegan for whom all animal products are off limits. And perhaps that vegan is threatening a visit to your Thanksgiving table this year.
Thanksgiving is stressful. Everyone knows that; the very history of it is stress. The original celebration was not what people had to eat, but that they had anything to eat at all. Maybe things aren’t as bad as all that today, but it can still be stressful when someone needs a special menu.
But one of the great things about vegan meals is that everyone can enjoy them. (Provided they don’t have a nut allergy, or a wheat allergy, or...well maybe we oughta just go out for Chinese food.)
If your first thought was an eye roll, or something along the lines of, “That’s their choice - I don’t have to cook for them,” or if you think they can get by on salad and cranberry sauce, well, honestly, don’t even invite them. Somewhere there’s a welcoming table where the lentils overfloweth, and they will take your vegan in.
But if you actually like them, maybe even love them, or if your loved one loves them, or if you want them in any way, shape, or form to have a great time as your guest, then read on.
Recent cuts to SNAP benefits have left 47 million people with $36 a month less to spend on food. That cut (based on a family of four) is a 5% reduction to an already stretched budget. Millions of others who don't qualify for benefits, but who still struggle to feed their families, are finding the aisles of their local food banks more crowded with fellow shoppers than ever before.
We asked our readers, via our comments and Facebook, to share their strategies for making the most of their limited food funds. Here's what they had to say.
Cook without a kitchen
Rock star Joan Jett was removed from a parade float representing South Dakota in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade after ranchers protested her appearance, saying she's a vegetarian and a critic of their livestock production.
Jett is a supporter of People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals, the world's largest animal rights group that promotes a vegetarian diet and condemns factory farms and ranches.
"I've decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people's political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event," Jett said in a statement Saturday. "I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition."
A New Jersey waitress who served in the Marine Corps for over two years told CNN Friday she is now getting tips from all over the world after she says a family refused to tip her because she is gay.
"I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with what your lifestyle and how you live your life," a family member wrote on the receipt for $93.55 at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
"I was offended. I was mad at first, and then I was more so hurt," 22-year-old Dayna Morales told CNN.