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Fast food workers walk off job to protest wages

Labor organizers predicted that hundreds of fast food workers in three Wisconsin cities will walk off the job today in an effort to force employers to raise their wages to $15 an hour.

The strike is part of a nationwide campaign that includes workers in 100 cities across the county.

While only workers in Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau are expected to strike, solidarity demonstrations are planned in Green Bay, La Crosse and Stevens Point. The job action is the second one this year by workers who cook and serve food in restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King.

Rabbi Renee Bauer of Madison will be speaking at a strike rally outside a local Taco Bell. She says support for a wage increase for these workers has grown since the last one day strike in August.

"In places where workers aren't striking, there's people who are saying, "We really stand by those workers; we don't have workers right here who are striking, but we want to make a statement to say we support this movement," says Bauer.

Fast Food executives have said that a wage hike would kill jobs, but Bauer says the strikes also raise a larger question about wage disparity.

"The CEO made $14 million last year whereas workers are making $7.25 an hour," says Bauer. "The real question is in my mind is how can that disparity be changed. That's what we need to look at."

Organizers say strikes in August did result in some minor victories for workers. In some stores they received raises of between 25 cents and 50 cents an hour, and community pressure forced some stores to rehire workers who were fired for walking off the job.