Nightly News   |  August 29, 2013

Fast food workers rally for better wages

Fast-food workers in more than 60 cities protested, demanding higher wages.  They seek an increase from the $7.25 minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour. NBC’s Katie Tur reports.

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>>> in nearly 60 cities across the country today, fast-food workers walked off the job to march in their largest nationwide protest yet, demanding a higher minimum wage , seeking better working conditions and trying to highlight their struggle just to get by. nbc's katie tour has our report.

>> reporter: they gathered before dawn in 60 cities, from chicago, to charlotte, to new york, thousands of fast-food workers marched to demand higher pay from the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $15 an hour. for a roof over their head.

>> i'm on the verge of homelessness right now.

>> reporter: $150 on a good week, 20-year-old bronx mcdonald's employee, davis, like more than a quarter of americans earning less than $15 an hour, can't make ends meet, can't feed her daughter without public assistance.

>> i want a better life for my daughter. but if these are all the jobs that are available and this is the money i'm getting, how am i ever going to get off of welfare.

>> reporter: according to the economic policy institute 88% of workers. the fast food companies say they can't afford the wage hike and individual franchises would have to cut jobs or raise prices.

>> nine out of ten restaurants, even those with big names are either independent or franchisees. in reality they're going after the small business owner that is trying to stay afloat, and create jobs in the process.

>> reporter: and despite thousands protesting, independent analysts say the workers have little leverage.

>> the big risk is in a really weak job market , you don't want to give employers any excuse to cut back on their hiring any more than they've already done so.

>> reporter: a risk davis is going to take if it means a better future for her daughter. nbc news, new york.