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Seeking $15 an hour, Mpls. fast food workers protest, clog traffic Thursday morning

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Fast food workers in Minneapolis (and about 190 cities) walked off the job Thursday morning during a nationwide strike for higher pay, demanding an industry-wide wage of $15 an hour, and the right to form a union.

Protesters were demonstrating in the middle of Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood, which clogged traffic in the area Thursday morning.

Minnesota fast food workers joined the "Fight for $15" national protests for the first time in September. The protests, which are led by grassroots organizers, with backing from labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union, and others.

Such protests have spread across the country in recent years as employees demand the raise – many fast food employees don’t make much more than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, which adds up to about $15,000 a year for a 40-hour work week, reports say.

Mike Darula, the owner and operator of McDonald's in Uptown, released a statement to FOX 9, in which he said:

"At McDonald's we respect everyone's right to peacefully protest. I value the dedicated employees that work in my restaurants and remain committed to providing them with opportunities to succeed. Our McDonald's franchised organization has a long. proven history of providing advancement paths, training and development for those who want it."

For the first time, workers from other industries are expected to strike in solidarity with fast-food employees, Peoples World reports.

Protesters Thursday morning were also joined by some politicians. Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey was among them:

Fast food workers in Minnesota are planning another strike at 34th and Nicollet in Minneapolis at noon Thursday, according to a Facebook event. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is expected to join protesters.

Here are some tweets from Thursday's strike:

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