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Fast Food Workers Kick-Off Massive Protests Around the World

McDonald's is the focus of the protests, say organizers.

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Fast food workers around the globe are protesting once again today for high wages. In March, news broke that employees at chains in over 200 cities will walk off the job on April 15 to demand a $15 per hour wage and the right to unionize. According to the Associated Press, demonstrations got an early start: On Tuesday afternoon, several hundred people gathered in Boston for a rally. And in Detroit, protesters assembled within a McDonald's in the evening, which organizers say inspired three employees to walk off the job and join the cause.

USA Today notes that protestors in New York City started outside of a local McDonalds at 6 a.m. this morning, blocking "traffic near the main artery to the Brooklyn Bridge." There protestors listened to speeches and "unfurled a giant banner demanding $15 an hour." More demonstrations are planned for today in cities like Los Angeles, Kansas City, Raleigh, Miami, Chicago, and more.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fight of $15, tells the AP that "McDonald's remains the focus of the protests and the company's recently announced pay bump shows fast-food workers already have a de facto union." He adds, "It shows that the workers are winning." Earlier this month, McDonald's announced that it would give a small percentage of its workers — only those who work at company-owned stores — a $1 per hour raise. Protestors are hoping to convince the chain to give all employees a pay bump.

While McDonald's currently fights charges that it fired or punished employees who have participated in previous protests, the chain tells the AP that the company respects the right of employees to "peacefully protest," but that stores would remain open today. McDonald's does not appear too concerned about the protests: In the past the chain has claimed that only 10 to 15 of its employees out of the nearly 800,000 it employes have participated. Today's protests come just days after a new study revealed that 52 percent of all fast food workers are dependent upon public assistance programs to make ends meet. Check out images from the protests below: