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Hundreds of Fast Food Workers Stage Protest, Strike Over Minimum Wage Debate

First Posted: May 15, 2014 03:56 PM EDT
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Hundreds of fast-food workers in a several U.S. and international cities joined the minimum wage debate Thursday by staging a walk off from their jobs and demanding a $15-an-hour wage.

The international strikes have remained peaceful while targeting the $200 billion fast-food industry and garnering consumer attention to the low wages most fast-food workers receive, USA Today reported.

A few businesses including Burger King, KFC, McDonald's and Wendy's were reportedly forced to close their doors temporarily while managers worked to re-staff and fill-in positions themselves, several strikers have said.

However, officials from both McDonald's and Burger King insist that none of their stores have closed down for the day amid the protests.

According to USA Today, dozens of protestors demonstrated outside of a McDonald's near Penn Station in New York City where they demanded the right to form a union and higher wages. The demonstration did slow business for the fast-food chain but did not halt sales.

The strike was organized by Fast Food Forward and was financed by Service Employees International Union, which has more than 2 million members.

Kendall Fells, a Fast Food Forward organizer, marched with the rest of the fast-food workers Thursday and told USA Today that the corporate execs who run the major fast-food chains could afford to pay reasonable wages to their employees.

"At the end of the day, there is more than enough money to pay these workers $15 an hour," the 34-year-old said. "They're just trying to support their families and makes ends meet."

Fells said two-thirds of fast-food workers are women, and most of them also have children.

Working as a cashier for KFC in Park Slope for the last three years, 22-year-old Naquasia LeGrand of Brooklyn pays $1,300 a month for her apartment while earning $8 an hour. She said fast-food workers have a tough time surviving and paying bills.

"We live in New York City -- a multi-billion dollar city," LeGrand said. "These corporations are taking everything from us. They are making all this money. It's only right that we come together."

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