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Workers protest for wage increase

Craig D. Frazier | 5/22/2014, 2:01 p.m.

Fast food workers seeking higher pay protested against McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s locations around the globe demanding a minimum wage increase. Last week, workers rallied in 150 U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, in more than 30 countries, including Germany, Japan and the U.K., as part of a campaign seeking $15-an-hour wages and the right to unionize, according to a news release from Berlin Rosen Public Affairs in New York.

In New York, where local workers launched the first protests for fair wages and labor rights in the fast food industry in late 2012, protested at McDonald’s in Times Square.

“We have come here in support of theses very brave low-wage workers that are trying to organize for the right to unionize,” Larry Holmes, a representative from the Peoples Power Assembly (PPA), told the AmNews. His organization is an active supporter of the low-wage workers’ campaigns and hosts in-store flash mobs for the fast food protests in New York City.

Last month, the PPA joined with Baltimore activists to confront members of the National Restaurant Association, whose members were holding a Washington strategy and lobbying session on how to stop the campaign for $15-an-hour wages and a union.

“What they are doing is very brave because they have no protection when they go on strike,” noted Holmes. “When they go on strike, it is important that the community supports them.”

The demonstrations were backed by the worker-advocacy group Fast Food Forward and the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million members.

McDonald’s said its restaurants “offered competitive pay and benefits, with opportunities for advancement.” McDonald’s also said in a statement: “This is an important discussion that needs to take into account the highly competitive nature of the industries that employ minimum-wage workers, as well as consumers and the thousands of small businesses which own and operate the vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants.”