GLENDALE (WITI) -- Protesters demanding higher wages for fast food workers descended on Bayshore mall and nearby fast food restaurants. It's the latest demonstration in a nationwide effort to get fast food chains to pay their workers $15 and hour.
This is movement that has gained momentum in recent months with voters and elected officials in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and in both Seattle and Chicago raising the minimum wage. Now a group is attempting to bring increased wages to Wisconsin.
Making a big issue out of small paychecks, protesters marched from Glendale's upscale Bayshore Town Center, to nearby fast food restaurants on Port Washington Road.
"I make burgers all day for a living, but I'm struggling to eat," said Daniel McFarland.
They're attempting to draw attention to what they view as an unfair pay scale, and drum up support for an increased minimum wage. The protesters echoed the themes of recent demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri and New York.
"They're over-criminalized, and they're forced into poverty wage employment. So we know that this is not just an economic justice issue. It is a racial justice issue," said Jennifer Epps-Addison, protester.
Jamale King dressed up as the Grinch to show what he sees as corporate greed.
"The Grinch steals Christmas, they steal everything else," said King.
A national restaurant association spokesperson says, "many restaurateurs would be forced to limit hiring, increase prices, cut employee hours or implement a combination of all three to pay for the wage increase."
After the 2007 federal minimum wage increase, 58% of restaurant operators increased menu prices and 41% reduced employee hours.
"We know that that's completely inaccurate. We know that the CEO's and these corporations are growing and growing and growing and they can share in that prosperity with everyone," said Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee County Board Chair.
Dimitrijevic was among the protesters. Last month four cities and nine counties voted for an increased minimum wage. But a republican controlled legislature and Governor Scott Walker have said the issue is a non-starter.
"I think they need to listen to the people who spoke at the ballot box," said Dimitrijevic.
Wisconsin's minimum wage is set at $7.25 and hour.
"You paying us $7.25 is like treating us like trash, and we are worth more," said Halle Smith, protester.
CLICK HERE to view 2014 minimum wage by state.