Eduardo Shoy is 58 years old, works 70 hours a week, and sleeps no more than four hours a night. Also, "his car is stained with an abiding stench of grease." That's because he works two jobs, one as a forklift operator and another as a delivery man for KFC and Pizza Hut. Like the other 55,000 fast food workers in New York, Shoy has trouble paying his bills and supporting his family because the companies that employ them refuse to pay a living wage. Then again, who wants the price of a hamburger to increase by a quarter?
Shoy's life in Queens is profiled in this piercing Times report that strips away the abstraction of "unskilled workers" and paints a bleak picture of what it's like to rely on a job that pays $7.25/hour.
Melissa Autilio Fleischut, the chief executive of the New York State Restaurant Association, which supports the industry, including fast-food establishments, said that fast food was “an opportunity industry” where young workers could learn skills and advance. If the minimum wage were indeed raised to $15, Ms. Fleischut, said the result would be more automation, fewer workers hired and increased costs at the counter. “McDonald’s dollar meal would be $1.25,” she said.
“People ask me how I do it,” Shoy says in the piece. “But you do what you have to do. Otherwise I’d be living under the Williamsburg Bridge.”