Chicago fast-food, retail workers rally for living wage

Chicago fast-food, retail workers rally for living wage with `Fight for 15`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Fast-food and retail workers in the downtown area went on strike at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, in a job action aimed at getting higher pay, or the "living wage."

Workers gathered 30 restaurant and retail locations in the Loop on Wednesday, but the demonstration at Union Station at Adams and Canal was one of the biggest. You'll see them at McDonald's restaurants and Dunkin Donuts, and even along the Magnificent Mile at Macy's, Sears and Victoria's Secret on Wednesday.

The employees hope the walkout will pressure their bosses to give them a raise, as they stood outside in the rain in their red ponchos and held up signs reading "We are worth more."

The action is part of the "Fight for 15" campaign, which wants wages of at least $15 per hour for those who currently work for Illinois' minimum wage - $8.25 per hour.

Protesters said that they are working hard, and are professional in their performance – but are not being compensated with a professional wage at companies that are raking up big bucks in area and national sales profits.

Most don't have benefits or sick days, but they value their jobs and want to be paid enough to live on.

"I'm a full-time worker. I work hard," McDonald's worker Robert Wilson Jr. said. "At the end of the day I feel like I should be getting paid a wage where I can rely on my job without any other type of assistance."

Wilson Jr. has been with McDonald's for seven or eight years - he started in high school - and his wage has increased by about $0.35 in that time.

Fast food workers not unionized. But they hope to unionize soon, so they can bring up these issues without fear of reprisal. A similar action took place in New York City earlier this month.

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