Indiana workers protest against "poverty" wage

Some Indiana fast food workers are expected to strike today as part of the Fight for 15 movement.

By Mary Kuhlman

If you're hoping to grab a quick burger and fries today, you may want to pack a backup lunch, as some Indiana fast-food workers plan on taking part in a nationwide strike over low wages.

Indiana's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is the same as the federal minimum wage, but according to Mary Kate Dugan with Central Indiana Jobs with Justice, it is a "poverty wage" that leaves many families scraping to get by.

"The cost of childcare has been rising," she says. "Our electric bills go up every year, gas goes up, all of these expenses go up but wages have not been rising to the same extent."

Protests are planned at more than 270 locations nationwide, in what some say could be the largest strike to ever hit the fast-food industry. Some workers from other traditionally low-wage fields, including childcare, home-care and farming, also plan to strike. Opponents of raising the wage claim it would hurt businesses and result in job losses.

Dugan says workers want to take the matter into their own hands, and believe the momentum to raise the minimum wage in Indiana and elsewhere around the country is growing.

"Some of the Democrats at the Indiana General Assembly, every year, will introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage," she says. "So there is movement, the problem is there are some pretty powerful people who are against it."

An estimated 64 million Americans are paid less than $15 per hour, and political analysts say they could make up a powerful voting bloc.

Sunday marked exactly one year until the 2016 presidential election.

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