Fast food and retail workers are demonstrating all over the country Thursday in an effort to convince their employers to increase their wages.
Chicago's rally kicked off at 7 a.m. Thursday at the River North Rock and Roll McDonald's and other fast food locations. Rep. Jan Schakowsky was also on hand to show solidarity with the workers, with a bigger rally set for 3:30 p.m. at Federal Plaza.
With other cities such as New York and LA participating, Thursday's demonstrations are expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was earlier this summer when about 2,200 of the nation's millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities, including Chicago.
The workers are attempting to coerce chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to increase salaries to $15 an hour,which would be about $31,000 a year for full-time employees. That's more than double the federal minimum wage, which many fast food workers make, of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year.
The move comes amid calls from the White House, some members of Congress and economists to hike the federal minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. But most proposals seek a far more modest increase than the ones workers are asking for, with President Barack Obama wanting to boost it to $9 an hour.
Locally, the effort is led by Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, who created a Fight for 15 campaign.