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Fast food workers protest, demand $15 an hour

Fast food workers in Los Angeles and across the nation are protesting Thursday to raise their pay to $15 an hour.
December 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fast food workers in Los Angeles and across the nation are protesting Thursday to raise their pay to $15 an hour.

About 100 protesters gathered by 6 a.m. outside of a McDonald's in South Los Angeles and blocked the driveway. Theirs is one of many protests taking place across the country.

Protests took place in New York, Washington and Atlanta. In total, 100 cities took part in the protests, hoping for a change. Organizers say this is the largest effort in a push for higher pay.

The campaign began last year to call attention to the difficulties of living on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Protesters are calling for a wage of $15 an hour and they're also trying to create a union.

"In today's economy and how prices and everything are going up, and how we're still stuck at $8 an hour, we don't even make ends meet with that," said Simon Rojas, a McDonald's employee. "A lot of us are on government assistance programs."

The fast food industry says it has created jobs in a difficult economy, and increasing the minimum wage will challenge that job growth history, increase prices for meals and lead to fewer jobs created.

The National Restaurant Association released the following statement:

"Dramatic increases in a starting wage such as those called for in these rallies will challenge that job growth history, increase prices for restaurant meals and lead to fewer jobs created."

But workers and their supporters are adamant that wealth can and should be shared.

"We should not be working and having to choose between paying your rent, feeding your children, and having to work three or four jobs, and you have three or four kids at home, single moms. I know people who are doing that," said Tonia McMillian, a protest supporter.

The push to increase wages is getting attention from lawmakers, and even President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama has made the topic a focal point of his economic agenda, calling for an increase of the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

In California, minimum wage is $8. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law increase to $10 in the next three years.


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