Fast food workers in Chicago push for $15 minimum wage

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In July, Chicago's minimum wage was raised to $10 in what the city said was the first wage increase for city workers since 2010. (WLS)

Fast-food workers protested outside McDonald's restaurants, shut down some streets and rallied at the Thompson Center on Tuesday in Chicago to push for a $15 minimum wage and union benefits.

The gatherings are part of a nationwide movement that organized worker protests in 270 cities. Some are calling it the largest fast-food worker strike ever.

By Tuesday evening, hundreds of people had gathered at the Thompson Center.

"It's important for us to be here," said Nancy Garcia, a fast-food worker. "We all have to be here, not just one. We all have to be here to support each other."

Earlier in the day, protesters - which included cooks, cashiers and prep workers -- started the early morning at a Bucktown neighborhood McDonald's at Western and Armitage on the city's Northwest Side.

The group walked on Milwaukee Avenue and aimed to disrupt traffic. In the late morning, demonstrators moved to a South Side McDonald's and plan to gather at another McDonald's in the afternoon.

"I can't think of any job that shouldn't start at $15 an hour, or more," said Solo Littlejohn, who works at Kentucky Fried Chicken. "Especially in this day and age in the city, in Illinois and the suburbs, with everything being so expensive."

Fast-food workers have walked off the job dozens of times over the years to draw attention to their cause. Protesters said they are working-class people who deserve a better living wage, so they can stop relying on public assistance to make ends meet.

"It's important for us to be here," said Nancy Garcia, a fast-food worker. "We all have to be here, not just one. We all have to be here to support each other."

In July, the minimum wage for Chicago workers jumped to $10 an hour in what the city said was the first wage increase for city workers since 2010. A city ordinance brings up the wage to $13 an hour by 2019.

In a statement, McDonald's officials said they respect the group's right to protest and align their wages according to federal law and the market.

Related Topics:
minimum wageproteststrikefast food restaurantmcdonald'sChicago - Bucktown
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