Tampa fast food workers rally for higher pay as part of national protest

TAMPA - Fast food workers came together across the country Thursday, striking for a livable wage.  Here in the Bay Area dozens of protestors rallied on Fowler Avenue in Tampa, demanding that fast food worker's salaries be doubled.

"Anyone can do that job.  I don't understand.  It doesn't require any special skills," Alexandria Curtwright.
While some people, like Curtwright, have very strong feelings about fast food workers demanding $15 an hour, "They're not doctors or lawyers, so no, $15 an hour is ridiculous.  I don't get $15 an hour," Maria Terrell, those in the fast food industry and their supporters say minimum wage isn't even enough to live off of.  Now, they're fighting back in strikes like this across the country, hitting over 1000 fast food restaurants. 

Dr. Bruce Wright with the Poor Peoples' Economic Human Rights Campaign says people he knows working in these local fast food restaurants are barely getting by, some are even homeless despite having jobs at fast food restaurants.  "These workers work very hard but very rarely get benefits or full time hours and what was traditionally a youth job is more of an adult job now for people given the economy."

Both Wendy's and McDonald's issued statements Thursday.  Officials with Wendy's say they're "proud to provide a place where thousands of people, who come asking for a job, can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain skills and advance"  McDonald's issued a similar statement saying, in part, "it aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to employees, providing training and professional development."   But Dr. Wright says workers still hold out hope that maybe if you can't have it your way today, fast food restaurants will re-think their pay.  "I don't think anyone out there wants to be in a job where they can't make ends meet."

Organizers of the rally say they expected fast food workers to walk off the job to join the rally, however, our crews did not see any employees do that.

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