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Fast Food Workers Demand $15 an Hour Wage at Times Square Rally

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TWC News: Fast Food Workers Demand $15 an Hour Wage at Times Square Rally
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Fast food workers around the country and here in the city walked off the job Thursday in a fight for higher wages.

More than 15 workers were taken into custody during a demonstration outside the McDonald's on 42nd Street in Times Square.

The group also rallied outside the McDonalds on 56th Street and Eighth Avenue in Midtown.

Similar protests have been going on for about two years now. But this time, organizers said they were planning acts of non-violent civil disobedience which could lead to arrests and raise awareness of their cause.

Protesters want fast food chains to start paying employees at least $15 an hour. That is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

New York's minimum wage is higher than the national average, but protesters say living in the Big Apple is too expensive to survive on anything less than $15 per hour.

"Just getting by everyday, it costs a lot. Rent is really high here. I think the average is about $2,000 rent for a one bedroom. Eight dollars an hour is just not enough to pay that alone," said one demonstrator.

"15 [dollars] and a union to be able to live. Not just work and kill yourself working but to get out of poverty," said another fast food worker.

Thursday's demonstrations took place in about 150 cities nationwide. It's also the seventh strike for the group since 2012.

In response to the rallies, McDonalds released a statement saying, "Approximately 90% of our U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by franchisees who set wages according to job level and local and federal laws. McDonald’s does not determine wages set by our more than 3,000 U.S. franchisees."

The National Restaurant Association also fired back at the protesters saying, in part, "The vast majority of participants are activists and paid demonstrators. This is nothing more than labor groups’ self-interested attempts to boost their dwindling membership by targeting restaurant employees."

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