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Retail, Restaurant Workers Stage Black-Friday Wage Protest

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Workers stage a Black Friday protest to demand better wages from Chicago retailers. (CBS)

Workers stage a Black Friday protest to demand better wages from Chicago retailers. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The workers who usually spend Black Friday ringing up purchases and completing food orders spent time Friday morning protesting their pay at those jobs.

They chanted the slogan, “We can’t survive on 8.25!” and carried banners that said “Fight for 15,” a reference to workers’ goal of making at least $15 an hour. Some of them make far less while their parent companies, they say, make millions.

“It’s a struggle every day,” Subway employee Felix Mendez said. “It’s the survival that we gotta make, and that’s why we’re out here fighting for what we can.”

The workers come from Magnificent Mile stores that include Macy’s, Forever 21, All Saints, Chipotle, Protein Bar and Au Bon Pain. They formed a union last week, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago.

Their protest Friday included stops along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, two prime downtown shopping districts.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour. State lawmakers will consider a bill in this year’s veto session that would raise the rate to $10.65.

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