Fast food chains are all over New York City, and they employ thousands of workers. What rights do fast food restaurant workers have in this large workforce? What rights should they have?

In the spring of 2014, CUP teaching artist Chelsea Wagner worked with two ESL classes at the Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering in Bushwick to find out. Students took a field trip to restaurant chains in the neighborhood and interviewed a community organizer and a fast food worker. They created a not-so-happy meal postcard explaining wage rights on one side, and the right to unionize on the other.

Get your own postcard here!

What People are Saying

“I always thought $7.25 an hour was enough for anybody, but after I did the project, I recognized that it’s not enough.” — Shihao Chen, student

“This project was different because we don’t use art in regular class, and that’s how we develop our imagination skills.” — Christian Macas, student

“My students learned and retained a lot, and also now recognize the connection between academic learning and real world issues.” — Sarah Harrington, ESL teacher

Resources & Links

The Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering (AUPE) is a public school in Bushwick with an urban planning theme-based curriculum.

Funding Support

This program is made possible by the Bay and Paul Foundations, public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Sam Lewis, Gregory Reynoso, and Shantal Walker. 


  • CUP
  • Teaching artist
  • Chelsea Wagner
  • Project lead
  • Pema Domingo-Barker
  • Project support
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering
  • Karla Alvarez, Shi-hao Chen, Miguel Collado, Cristofer Crisanto, Karla De la Cruz, Emiliana Diaz, Adonis Diaz Rodriguez, Tenzin Dolma, Maria Duran, Javier Estevez, Roberto Guzman, Arlenis Jiminez Cruz, Christopher Joaquin, Vanessa Juarez, Christian Macas, Crismeldy Maria, Nataly Maria, Javier Mateo, Edward Mejia, Jason Mendez, Angel Miguel Sanchez, Alexis Montenegro, Janet Muñoz, Melissa Ortiz, Jenny Palchizaca, Mayra Perez, Jonathan Perez, Merliny Reyes, Anthony Rodriguez, Wilmer Roman, Nashali Rosario, Freylin Santos, Leonardo Santos, Cesar Vasquez
  • Classroom teachers
  • Sarah Harrington
  • Peter Moody

  • Program coordinator
  • Joshua Lapidus
      • MESH
      • Designers
      • Megan Bullock
      • Joelle Riffle