LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Fast-food workers protested in South Los Angeles and downtown Los Angeles Thursday as part of a nationwide effort to push for higher pay.
Several hundred people, many who are part of the Service Employees International Union, rallied with signs at the McDonald's at 1071 W. Martin Luther King Blvd. Another group marched in downtown Los Angeles. About 10 people in that protest were arrested for failing to disperse.
Similar protests have been held nationwide for the past two years. About 150 cities are taking part in Thursday's protests.
Workers want to be paid $15 an hour, arguing that they are being paid poverty-level wages. Mayor Eric Garcetti is pushing for gradual increases for the city of Los Angeles that would raise the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017, but workers say that is not enough.
Some admit that the $15 an hour demand may result in less jobs and less hours for some.
"The kind of wage hike being proposed in Los Angeles is a blatant overestimation of what the businesses in this community can bear," said Jot Condie, president/CEO of the California Restaurant Association. "The state minimum wage just climbed to $9 in July, leaving little time to analyze the fallout. This is simply too much, too fast -- ignoring all the other aspects that go into overall compensation, including tips and benefits."
McDonald's issued a statement: "We believe that any minimum wage increase should be implemented over time so that the impact on owners of small and medium-sized businesses - like the ones who own and operate the majority of our restaurants - is manageable."
Several people were handcuffed during protests in New York and Detroit for blocking traffic.
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.