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Detroit fast-food employees walk off the job

McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC restaurants, among others, had to temporarily shut down

Fast-food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs by the hundreds on Friday in protest of their current wages. Many of the restaurant chains had to temporarily shut down.

The employees of the Detroit fast-food restaurants, including Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, followed fast-food workers in other cities—such as New York, Chicago and St. Louis—who have already taken action to increase wages. The Detroit workers hope to nearly double their pay—asking for $15 per hour, compared to their current wage of $7.40 per hour.

According to Thomson Reuters, more than 400 people showed up for the Detroit event, which organizers said caused several of the restaurants to temporarily shut their doors.

Some of the protesters in Detroit told Thomson Reuters that making minimum wage or just above it is not sustainable for even a modest lifestyle—especially when the fast-food industry is in growth mode.

"People can't make a living at $7.40 a hour," Rev. Charles Williams II, a protest organizer, told Thomson Reuters. "Many of them have babies and children to raise, and they can't get by with these kind of wages." 

In his State of the Union address in February, President Barack Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage requirement in an effort to help transition some American workers out of poverty. Critics, including the fast-food industry, however, called it a job killer, claiming it would place too heavy a burden on small businesses.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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