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Fast Food Workers Nationwide Protest for Higher Wages

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Protesters in Chicago.
Protesters in Chicago.
Photo: @fightfor15 / Twitter
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Fast food workers across the country protested for higher wages today, asking for $15 an hour (compared to the minimum wage of $7.25) plus the right to unionize. Today's protests, by the numbers: According to the Associated Press,"about 300 to 400 workers" protested outside of a Manhattan McDonald's, though business inside the restaurant operated as usual. In Detroit, the absence of 12 protesting workers forced an 8 Mile Road McDonald's to close its dining room, the Detroit Free Press reports. In Los Angeles, the LA Times reports that "dozens" protested outside of a South LA Burger King, carrying signs with slogans like "Burgers and Lies" and "Yo Quiero $15." Meanwhile, Reuters puts the number of cities on strike at 60, and reports that restaurants have been shut down in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Raleigh, and Seattle.

When asked for a comment, McDonald's released the following statement: "Our history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald's and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonald's." This isn't the first time McDonald's has sidestepped talking about its wages. In an interview last month with Bloomberg TV, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson deflected a question on whether he believes minimum wages should be raised, saying: "I think we have legislators and many people that will determine whether or not minimum wage should be raised." It remains to be seen whether the protests will effect a wage increase. Below, video footage from protests in Boston:

Video: Fast-food Protests Underway

· Fast-food Protests Underway [AP]
· Fast-food workers protest for higher wages in Los Angeles [LAT]
· All Protest Coverage on Eater [-E-]