KC fast food workers execute two-day work stoppage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  The person who made your last burger and fries might be going on strike.

Fast food and retail workers in Kansas City are taking part in a two-day work stoppage, demanding higher paychecks and a labor union.

A group called Stand Up KC says over 26,000 people in the metro are employed in the fast food industry, and most of them work for less than $10 per hour. That group organized a noon protest at a Burger King off Troost and Cleaver earlier today to begin a two-day work stoppage.

They came and made their voices heard with marching, protesting and a battle cry: "fast food workers own this town."

More than 150 fast food and retail workers marched and protested while seeking better pay and benefits for their work at area fast food restaurants.

"I've seen the desperation in a mother's eyes because she doesn't know where the next meal is coming from to feed their kids," Terrence Wise, who currently works two fast food jobs, said.

Wise says he's the embodiment of the cause. He's worked in fast food restaurants for 18 years. Nowadays... Wise says despite having two jobs, he says he's homeless.

"They're making historical profits, year after year," Wise said.  "It's just rising. Yet, our living conditions continually degrade."

Workers are asking for a pay raise to $15 per hour, as well as a labor union to negotiate on their behalf.

"We work our butts off for nothing," Burger King employee Lakiisa Dukes said. "For no pay. We really deserve it. We really do."

US Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver agrees with the workers. Cleaver's father managed a restaurant at one point. He told the crowd at monday's gathering he favors using this cause to raise the federal minimum wage.

"Why do we need to have people in low-paying jobs in corporations run by billionaires?" Cleaver asked. "It's not as if they are losing money."

All of the workers involved in the labor stoppage will not go on strike at the same time, according to a spokesperson from the group Stand Up KC. Fox 4 News has been told by that group there's a staggered schedule that will take the protest from one series of restaurants to another, allowing employees to stage their protests one at a time.

A Burger King spokesperson says that company offers compensation and benefits consistant with the fast food service industry.  Yum Corporation whichs owns numerous fast food chains did not offer a comment, and Wendy's says it's still assessing the situation.

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