San Diego fast food workers walk off the job - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego fast food workers walk off the job

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Fast food workers staged a nationwide strike Thursday over higher wages, and San Diego workers were among them.

More than 100 people marched to support $15 dollar an hour fast food jobs, but only two people at the rally refused to show up to work.

Violeta Gonzalez, 19, says she lives with her parents because her job at Wendy's won't pay her bills.

"I started with $8, I've been here over a year and my only raise was 10 cents. What am I supposed to do with 10 cents, it's not even a quarter. That's kind of like a slap in the face," she said.

Thursday's rally was organized in part by the Service Employees International Union, which supports an increase in the federal minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association says a dramatic wage increase would raise the price of food, and opponents of the 100-city walkout say fast food work is an entry level job.

Peter Sitz, who was walking by the protest, believes restaurant profits should go to shareholders, not fast food workers.

"If you are flipping burgers and you're 35, 40 years old, you made some wrong decisions in your life," Sitz said.

Inside the downtown Wendy's, it was business as usual, except Raquel Neri didn't show up to work. Through an interpreter, the single mother told us $9.55 an hour is not enough to support her seven children.

"She has to pay rent, she has to pay for clothing, she has to pay for bus passes to send her children to school, and $9.55 is simply not enough," the interpreter said.

Although a high turnover rate makes it difficult for fast wood workers to unionize, employees like Violetta Gonzalez are confident their movement is gaining momentum.

"It's not that much that we're asking for, and I think people are still going to be doing strikes until we get what we want," she said.

Gonzalez says if she were paid $15 dollars an hour, that could potentially raise her salary from $16,000 dollars a year to more than $30,000 a year.

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