Fast-food strike: Workers in 100 cities push for $15 hourly wages (+video)

Fast-food strike: A nationwide fast-food strike started early Thursday in Detroit, Atlanta, and dozens of other cities. The strike is organized by labor unions pushing for higher wages.

By , Associated Press

Fast-food workers and labor organizers are set to turn out in support of higher wages in cities across the country Thursday.

Organizers say walkouts are planned in 100 cities, with rallies set for another 100 cities. But it's not clear what the actual turnout will be and whether they'll shut down or even disrupt restaurant operations.

A similar day of protests this summer had mixed results, with just a few protesters in some locations.

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In Detroit and New York City. dozens of sign-carrying McDonald's employees and others marched in front of the restaurant during the pre-dawn rally Thursday.

Some of their chants included: "Raise the minimum wage" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40 has got to go."

In Detroit, McDonald's maintenance worker Julius Waters was among those protesting. The 29-year-old from Detroit says his $7.40-an-hour wage pays for his transportation to and from work but not much else.

Waters says $15-an-hour would go a long way toward helping him and his 6-year-old son improve their standard of living.

The fast food strikes are part of push by labor unions, worker advocacy groups and Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Last month, President Barack Obama said he would back a Senate measure to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. That's more than a dollar higher than the $9 an hour rate he previously proposed. On Wednesday, Obama addressed income equality in a speech.

The speech coincided with growing national and international attention to economic disparities.

In Atlanta, strike organizers with Atlanta Jobs With Justice say the group will join workers in cities across America Thursday to push for salaries of $15 an hour.

Demonstrators are expected to rally at a Burger King in southeast Atlanta Thursday morning and hold a march and demonstration at Cleopas R. Johnson Park at 5 p.m.

Aside from fast food employees, the event is expected to feature clergy members, politicians and other community activists.

In Charlotte, N.C., Action NC says workers are expected to strike the major fast-food restaurants in North Carolina's largest city on Thursday.  These workers are also seeking $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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