Fast-food workers join nationwide strike for higher wages

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Fast-food workers in Indianapolis walked off the job Thursday, as a part of a nationwide protest for more money.

Protestors gathered around 6 a.m. at the McDonalds in downtown Indianapolis at 16th and Meridian streets.

The workers are fighting for $15 per hour instead of the minimum wage they currently make. Organizers said the median wage for the nearly 33,000 fast food workers in Indianapolis is $6.86 per hour. Workers also want the right to form a union without retaliation or unfair labor practices, according to campaign spokesman, Fran Quigley, who is also an IU Professor of Law.

“Sometimes there’s a statement these are entry level jobs these are jobs for teenagers or folks, that’s not true anymore. People working in the fast food industry are mothers, and fathers supporting their families and they need to be able to get wages that will put food on the table,” Quigley said.

Workers in more than 50 cities in the US are fighting for the same cause.  Employees from McDonalds, Taco Bell, A&W and Sweet Factory are taking part. In central Indiana, the Faith and Labor Commission and Central Indiana Jobs with Justice and the Community are supporting the cause.

The strike is also taking place at the A&W, Cinnabon and Sweet Factory at the Circle Center Mall downtown from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 and at the McDonald’s at 7911 from 5 to 6 p.m.

Officials with the National Restaurant Association point out that seven out of 10 fast food restaurant workers who are earning entry-level pay are under the age of 25. They also said only five percent of restaurant employees earn the federal minimum wage.

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