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#Strikefastfood protests spread to more than 100 U.S. cities

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.

Fast-food workers strike and demand $15 per hour and a union

Do you make less than $15 per hour? The fast-food workers of America think you're worth more.

Fast-food protests are growing across the country, as one of the largest employment sectors in the U.S. demands a $15 per hour wage and union representation.

Acts of protest and civil disobedience have spread to more than 100 cities, from New York to Chicago, Richmond, Houston and Detroit. According to the group organizing the pickets, Fast Food Forward, the protests have shut down 42nd Street in New York, and arrests have been made in New York, Philadelphia and Detroit.

The labor movement is backed by the Service Employees International Union and is aimed at large fast-food chains, including Wendy's, Burger King and, of course, the heavyweight, McDonald's. Their message to these corporations is simple: "Low pay is not OK."

"There has to be civil disobedience, because workers don't see any other way to get $15 an hour and a union," Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fast Food Forward, told USA Today. "There's a long history of this, from the civil rights movement to the farm workers movement."

The protests, naturally, have also taken on a social media life of their own under the hashtag #strikefastfood.

Protesters and supporters of #strikefastfood are documenting arrests on social media in real time.

And for those who think fast-food jobs are just entry-level summer gigs for kids, take a look at this:

According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics in 2012, more than 4.4 million Americans held fast-food jobs, with a median pay of $8.84 per hour. Americans should be paid a livable wage for a day's work, and fast-food workers have banded under the slogan "Whatever it takes" to get a minimum of $15 per hour and a union. Let's all show a little solidarity and skip that burger and fries today. It won't cost you a thing and will help lift millions out of working poverty. That's a pretty good deal.

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