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Fast Food Workers Strike In 150 U.S. Cities And Worldwide

Every worker deserves fair wages and the right to organize. That’s why fast food workers have united today to participate in the most widespread strike in the history of the fast food industry. All in all, employees of fast food restaurants in 150 cities across the United States are taking the risk of walking off the job to demand higher pay, better treatment at work, and the opportunity for those who work hard to get ahead. The movement has also gone global, with protesters on six different continents as part of the worldwide “Low Pay Is Not OK” campaign.

Think Progress takes a look back at how their cause grew from a handful of people to a globe-spanning movement. The fast food strikes began on November 29, 2012. By the next August, strikers walked out in 60 cities. In December 2013, a little over a year after the first strike, a record-breaking 100 cities participated. And today, we are at a new record of 150. Take a look below — and head here to see the map in motion.

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These workers are standing up for a cause that all of us can get behind. Our economy is simply not working for most Americans. While wealth at the top has kept going up and up and up, middle- and working-class families now have less, and this has thrown our entire economy off kilter. A strong middle class is the real engine of the economy. An economy that grows from the middle class out is an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

The push to raise the minimum wage comes from the same set of beliefs: a person working full-time in America should not live in poverty. But many Republicans in Congress have remained staunchly opposed to raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Instead of voting to give Americans who work hard a better opportunity to get ahead, they have sided with the one percent and the special interests.

The tide could be changing, however. First, conservative leaders and former officeholders Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty said their fellow party members “should support reasonable increases to the minimum wage.” Then 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney agreed, telling a television audience that “we ought to raise it.”

Additionally, major low-wage employers have recently come out in favor of an increase. The CEO of Subway, the biggest fast food chain in the world, said his company would not object: “I’m not concerned. Over the years, I’ve seen so many of these wage increases. I think it’s normal.” And just today, Wal-Mart, which had previously maintained a “neutral” position on a wage increase, announced that it is “not opposed.”

BOTTOM LINE: The momentum to stand up for workers and fair pay is spreading at the grassroots and in corner offices. Fast food workers across the United States and the world are striking today to stand up for the principle that if you work hard, you should get ahead. At the same time, more and more of conservatives’ supposed anti-worker allies — top Republicans and the big retail companies they claim would be hurt — are announcing their support for a minimum wage increase.