Workers in 100 cities to protest minimum wage Thursday - FOX 10 News |

Workers in 100 cities to protest minimum wage Thursday

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The biggest protest yet in the fight over minimum wage is set for Thursday.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center, a union front and ACORN knockoff, is extending its reach by targeting 100 cities for protests Thursday. At least eight locations in Chicago have been targeted for protests.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 a year. Illinois workers do a little better, making a minimum wage of $8.25 an hour. But protesters say that's not nearly enough to survive on. They want the minimum boosted all the way to $15 an hour.

RELATED: Low pay debate: Should the minimum wage be raised?

Restaurant groups say that would make it impossible for many owners to stay in business, and would lead to layoffs and higher prices.

In a push for a higher minimum wage and more union members, ROC is also hiring a national campaign director to shepherd the center's multimillion-dollar budget, partially plumped by taxpayer dollars.

Though registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a nonpartisan nonprofit, ROC is closely aligned with the Democratic Party and Big Labor, notably the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, said Mike Paranzino, spokesman for the group ROC Exposed.

With her insider credentials, ROC co-director Saru Jayaraman was at the White House in May to participate in an unannounced strategy session on raising the minimum wage. reported in August that ROC had a presence in a dozen cities. According to the center's job posting, its new campaign director will supervise "22-23 local organizations around the country."

Building on earlier protests at fast-food restaurants, ROC plans to stage demonstrations in 100 cities Thursday. Among the targets: Washington, D.C. and Boston, whose city councils are considering minimum wage hikes. contributed to this report.

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