Denver fast food workers protest low wages

Photo: Protesting minimum wage (AP Photo)
Carmen Burley-Rawls, left, demonstrates outside a Burger King restaurant, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in Atlanta. Calling for higher pay and the right to form a union without retaliation, fast-food chain workers across the country, including Denver, protested Thursday.

Some fast food workers in Denver are striking Thursday as part of a nationwide effort to pressure their employers into raising wages to $15 an hour.

Workers from McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and other restaurants plan to walk off their jobs as part of the protest.

About 100 people picketed a McDonald's on the city's west side in the morning and at another restaurant near the state Capitol later in the day.

A pastor, a McDonald's worker and another man who supported the cause sat down in the middle of Colfax Avenue outside a McDonald's. They were taken into custody to cheers from protesters after police warned that they would be arrested.

Before the arrests, about 100 people marched along the sidewalk chanting "Hold the burger, hold the fries, make our wages supersize."

McDonald’s worker Christian Medina is participating in the strikes. He says he makes enough to cover rent, but not much more.

"It’s barely all I can do," Medina says. "Three days before the next paycheck, it’s all gone. Good thing I like rice. If not, I wouldn’t be eating anything else."

Medina says protesting low wages is worth possible retribution from his employer.

"It's one of the things that's been on my mind," he says. "But in the end, this cause is more important than what I feel about what's going to happen tomorrow morning."

McDonald’s says pay rates are set by its franchisees. Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board declared McDonald’s a co-employer, ruling that it can be included in labor complaints.