St. Louis, Kansas City fast-food workers strike, join national effort

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | 4:31 p.m. CDT; updated 7:51 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ST. LOUIS — Fast-food workers in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas are hopeful that their participation in brief strikes will lead to better pay and working conditions.

The strikes Monday and Tuesday were part of an effort in selected cities, including New York and Chicago, organized by the Fast Food Forward campaign, which was launched last year. Among the goals is to increase the minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, to $15 per hour.

Shannon Garth-Rhodes of the campaign says at least 150 workers walked off the job Tuesday at about 60 restaurants in the St. Louis area, including some in Illinois. She says at least 70 workers in the Kansas City area walked picket lines outside of dozens of restaurants.

Workers are expected back at their jobs Wednesday.

Garth-Rhodes said the strikes were peaceful, with no arrests.

Scott DeFife of the National Restaurant Association said Tuesday that doubling the minimum wage would have a "significant effect on the private sector's ability to create jobs, especially those typically filled by first-time workers and teens."

The striking workers were joined by politicians and community leaders. In suburban St. Louis, the picket lines were joined by coal miners who earlier had participated in a protest outside the headquarters of Arch Coal as part of ongoing concerns over potential cuts to benefits of some retired miners. Striking restaurant workers, in turn, took part in the miners' protest.

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