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With nothing to lose and a living wage to win, fast-food walkouts spread

Fast-food workers walked off the job in about 50 U.S. cities on Thursday, the latest show of force from a unionization campaign that began with a one-day strike involving 200 people in New York City last November. Since then, the union drive has taken root in several East Coast and Midwestern cities including Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Flint, Mich., and Milwaukee. The actions on Thursday marked new territory for the campaign with picket-lines going up in West Coast and Southern cities — Los Angeles, Seattle, Tampa, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., and Houston among them.

“Everybody is standing up today,” said Naquasia LeGrand. The 21-year old New Yorker divides her time between the two Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets she works for — one in Brooklyn, the other in Queens — and organizing the union drive. She was among a crowd of 100 or so that shut down a Midtown Manhattan McDonald’s before dawn Thursday with chants of “Can’t Survive on 7.25” — a reference to the going fast-food wage in New York State.

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