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Fast food walkout planned in Chicago

Demanding a hefty raise and a fair chance to form a union, workers in Chicago’s growing fast food and retail sectors plan to walk off the job Wednesday morning. The one-day walkout begins at 5:30 a.m. Central Time, and organizers expect 500 workers from a dozen chains to participate. The work stoppage follows similar strikes by New York City fast food workers and by Wal-Mart retail employees across the country, and marks the latest escalation in the struggle between an embattled labor movement and two industries that increasingly dominate and define the new economy.

“At the end of the day,” Macy’s employee Krystal Maxie-Collins told Salon, “it feels like I’ve done all of this to help everyone else, to help the store, help the managers, help the customers, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is looking out for me.” Maxie-Collins, a mother of four who works part-time for the state minimum wage of $8.25 plus a commission, said she had initially been hesitant about the strike because of the risk of retaliation. But “what we are fighting for, the reason for doing it, kind of overrode the fear of doing it.” “Usually the things that are worth it,” she added, “you have to sacrifice for.”

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