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

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First Posted: May 15, 2014 03:56 PM EDT
Fast Food Forward Strike
Fast food workers have demanded higher wages. CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder says a higher minimum wage will force restaurants to close. (Photo : Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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.

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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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