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Buffalo protest calls for higher minimum wage

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Across the country Thursday, protestors were out calling for higher pay for workers in fast food restaurants. That movement was joined in Buffalo with protests near several fast food restaurants at Main and Utica.

The small crowd locally came from the International Action Center, familiar figures at local protests. They chanted and carried signs calling for a national minimum wage of $15 per hour.

One city in the State of Washington has just voted to install $15 as its minimum wage. New York State goes from $7.25 to $8 an hour on January 1, and the wage increases to $9 on December 31, 2015.

Organizer Ellie Dorritie says big corporations could afford to shrink their profits to pay workers more.

"$15 an hour might make it possible for a lot of people to not have to work three jobs instead of two if employers who are taking home billions of dollars like McDonald's corporation does were simply to cut their profits a little bit."

Minimum wage increases have been much fought over in past years and decades, with fights over the effect on jobs if workers have to be paid more.

There's also the issue that jobs in many fast food restaurants are now held by adults and not the familiar image of high school students on that first job.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.