US fast food wage protests expand to other industries

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Media captionThe BBC's Michelle Fleury reports on the push for a $15 minimum wage

More than two years after it began, a movement to raise wages in the US, known as Fight for 15, is expanding.

Organisers say today's effort is the group's biggest protest yet, with actions planned in 230 cities across the US.

Workers in industries from fast food to homecare are demanding that employers raise the minimum wage paid to service workers.

The current US minimum wage is $7.25 (£4.90) per hour.

Workers have said that that wage is not enough to support a family, and have called for a living wage of $15 per hour.

US President Barack Obama has said he supports raising the minimum wage, and as a result of several ballot initiatives in last year's midterm elections, more than 20 states have raised their floor for workers.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Participants gathered in the early morning in some locations to stage sit-ins at various fast food outlets
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protests involving workers and labour supporters are planned in more than 200 US cities

Although the Fight for 15 group initially focused on fast-food workers, since 2012, the coalition has expanded to include retail employees, airport workers, and homecare aides.

Today's effort includes planned protests at McDonald's, airports, and other sites across the US. The hashtag, #Fightfor15, was trending nationally on Twitter as of this morning.

The movement has been credited with some successes, including stated initiatives by firms such as Wal-mart, Target, TJ Maxx and McDonalds to raise the base wages paid to workers.

They have also spearheaded several legal actions, including cases against McDonald's alleging workplace harassment and racism.

However, while workers and union supporters have applauded those moves, they have said that they are still not enough to ensure that workers are paid fair wages.

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