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Fast-food 'wage theft' protests staged across US

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Low-income fast-food employees and their supporters in the United States held rallies in at least 30 cities on Tuesday against “wage-theft” by McDonalds and other major fast-food restaurants.

American fast-food workers, who’ve been pushing for living wages of around $15 an hour since late 2012, are now shifting their attention to the issue of wage theft by the US restaurant industry.

Protesters demonstrated outside McDonald’s restaurants in cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami to call attention to the denial of overtime pay and other violations they say deprive workers of the money they’re owed.

In New York City, about 50 protesters walked into a McDonald’s, surprising customers. They chanted for a few minutes before being kicked out by police. Once back outside, the protesters took turns speaking before a large gathering of the media.

In Los Angeles, a crowd of 50 demonstrated at a McDonald’s for about a half-hour. The group held a brief press conference outside before marching inside with banners and signs.

In Boston, about 40 people waved signs reading “Stop Stealing Now” and chanted “Every nickel, every dime, we deserve our overtime!”

The demonstrations are a follow-up to lawsuits filed last week in three states on behalf of workers, who said McDonald’s and its franchisees engage in a variety of practices to steal their wages.

The lawsuits, filed by workers in the states of California, Michigan and New York on Thursday, argue that the fast-food giant regularly fails to compensate its already low-paid workers for all the hours they work.

US President Barack Obama has been calling for a raise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, in an attempt to reduce the country’s increasing income inequality. The US minimum wage has not been increased since 2009.


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