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Hundreds of fast food workers hit city streets to call for higher wages

Fast food workers protest at Union Square, call

Fast food workers protest at Union Square, call for higher wages. (Nancy Borowick) (Credit: Fast food workers protest at Union Square, call for higher wages. (Nancy Borowick))

Hundreds of fast food workers walked off the job hit the streets a Monday demanding higher wages. .

About 500 workers from McDonald's, Burger King and other popular restaurants joined in at protests throughout the Big Apple as part of the national "Fast Food Forward" movement that included similar rallies in other cities.

The protesters said it is impossible to live in the city making $7.25 and the corporations need to evolve when it comes to their wages.

"When you have a family and work in the fast food industry, you just have to forget about it," said Greg Reynoso, 27, a former Dominos Pizza employee who now organizes his peers.

There were three major rallies in Manhattan, the first early in the morning at a midtown Mcdonald's at 1651 Broadway, at a Financial District Wendy's at noon and at Union Square later in the afternoon.

"Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Seven-twenty fivehas got to go," they chanted.

There were no arrests or huge disturbances during the rallies.

Several elected officials who are up for election this year stood in support with the protesters, including mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn, who both have pushed help for low-income workers.

"This is a crucial organizing effort. We cannot have a tale of two cities," de Blasio said.

The New York State Restaurants Association, which represents many of the chains, disagreed. In a statement, its spokesman, Andrew Moesel said the chain owners respect their workers and have to deal with the economics of a recovering economy.

"In an already low margin business, restaurant operators will soon be required to offer paid sick leave and to pay for health care." he said.

Moesel added the state is going to raise the mimimum wage over the next tree years.

(With Morgan Ribera)

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The changing minimum wage

1963
$1.25

($9.54 inflation adjusted)

1973
$1.60

($8.41 inflation adjusted)

1983
$3.35

($7.85 inflation adjusted)

1993
$4.25

($6.87 inflation adjusted)

2003
$5.15

($6.54 inflation adjusted)

2013
$7.25


Source: U.S. Department of Labor
 

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