Fast-food workers staged a nationwide strike across at least 58 cities Thursday to demand higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation.
The strike, believed to be the largest in the industry's history, will also hit cities that have never seen concentrated fast food labor activism before, including Hartford, Conn., Dallas, Texas, and Berkley, Calif. Workers are demanding wages of $15 an hour, up from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum wage.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more more than 4 million fast-food workers in the United States who earned an average annual salary of $18,130 in 2010. Thursday's protest follows a similar one last November when almost 200 workers walked off their fast food jobs in New York City.
"If you're paying $7.35 an hour and employing someone for 20, 25 hours a week, which is the average here, they're bringing home about $10,000 a year. You can't survive on that," said Martin Rafanan, a community organizer in St. Louis, Missouri. "Unless we can figure out how to make highly profitable companies pay a fair wage to their workers, we're just going to watch them pull all the blood, sweat, tears and money out of our communities."
U.S. corporations, however, argue that forcing them to raise wages will mean fewer jobs and higher prices which could end up hurting those with lower incomes even more.
Here are 8 photos from Thursday's strike.