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Fast Food Workers Protest Wages At Mpls. McDonald’s

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fast food workers and union supporters briefly took over a Minneapolis McDonald’s restaurant Thursday.

It was part of a nationwide protest in 150 cities by fast food workers demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

In Minneapolis, about a hundred protesters marched into the McDonald’s at Hennepin and Lagoon avenues during the busy lunch hour.

Donia Caldwell, who works at a Minneapolis Burger King, says her $8-an-hour wage is not enough to support her family.

“It’s hard. I live paycheck to paycheck,” Caldwell said. “With me having three kids, I have to buy diapers. I have to buy clothes and school supplies. And I have no help, really.”

McDonald’s management asked our cameras to leave the restaurant, and we did. We interviewed one customer, Tim Scholtes, through the window glass from outside.

“It’s disruptive,” Scholtes said. “A lot of people in here are trying to eat lunch.”

Scholtes, who lives in Albertville, says he is a fast food worker himself, and said $15 an hour as a starting wage is too high.

“I think if they work their way up to it, you know. They don’t need to start out at $15 bucks. I mean, you know, it’s not a very hard job,” he said.

The median wage of a fast food worker is $9.07 an hour, or $18,870 a year, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

That’s below the federal poverty threshold of $23,000 for a family of four.

Donia Caldwell says a $15-an-hour wage would nearly double her income — and make a big difference.

“It’s well deserved,” she said. “Us people that work in the fast food industry, we have to put up with a lot.”

Minnesota’s minimum wage already went up this year to $8 an hour, and it goes to $9.50 by 2016.

The 90-day training wage for fast food workers is $6.50 an hour, which is also the hourly wage for fast food workers under 18.

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