A KFC employee who has joined the wage war against her past employer has now joined a union campaign demanding better pay and benefits for others like her.
Naquasia LeGrand, 22, used to work for KFC frying chicken, serving customers and sweeping floors of her restaurant. When she worked there, she earned $7.25 an hour. She was barely making it and joined union campaign to try to get more pay, demanding $15 an hour for her work in Brooklyn, New York. She has now become a highly recognizable face after appearing on The Colbert Report and even visiting the White House and President Barack Obama.
When LeGrand was on The Colbert Report, she said, “We never thought it would even get this far. We’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
She was originally approached by the union when the group Fast Food Forward was trying to organize a union and get better pay for their low minimum wage jobs. Although her grandmother urges her to avoid the union, she ignored that advice and is now a presence for protests and strikes across the city with other fast food employees. It has now reached past Brooklyn and to around 100 cities in the United States.
When on The Colbert Report, LeGrand was asked about her history with fast food work and low pay. She had worked at two different KFC restaurants and still not able to survive, although corporations were making billions of dollars. She found an opportunity not just to help herself, but others around the country that needed help and wanted to get fair wages. It was even harder for LeGrand living in one of the most expensive cities in the country.
When LeGrand began working with the various organizations for the union and Fast Food Forward, she found she had more time on her hands, now only working 15 hours a week for KFC. She would ask them what their biggest issue was, where the low pay was one of the biggest.
One of her biggest accomplishments, as reported to Stephen Colbert, was being in the White House when President Barack Obama required all federal contractors to make a minimum $10.10 an hour. Aside from visiting national broadcasts and the White House in Washington, DC, she has also visited the House Democratic Retreat in Cambridge, MD and is now seen as a leader for the low wage worker movement.
The main defense for the restaurant industry is that $15 an hour is too high for the current economy, and while wages are low, fast food experience leads to other opportunities. As for LeGrand, she has no desire to continue working for KFC and moving up to a management position, but becoming a public speaker and activist across the country.
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