Fast-food workers protest on I-Drive for minimum wage hike

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Some local fast-food workers are protesting for higher pay and better benefits.

There was a big group on International Drive Thursday protesting along with fast-food workers across the country.    

"Hourly employees are being taken advantage of. They are only getting minimum wage locally. What they want is $15 an hour. Some are part-time and don't have health care, so a higher wage will improve their lifestyle," said labor activist Alfredo Pini.

Minimum wage is just over $7.90 in Florida and many people believe that is not enough to survive.

But Channel 9’s Karla Ray learned that Organize Now, the non-profit leading the protest in Orlando, is not paying some of its own workers what they believe fast food corporations should pay.

Ray found a job posting for the group on Craigslist offering election canvassers a starting wage of $12 an hour to work up to 36 hours per week.

The group said it’s an unfair comparison.

They said they’re a small non-profit speaking out against billion-dollar corporations with big budgets and that the wage they're advertising is still more than what fast-food workers are paid.

“We pay our employees a starting rate of $12 per hour with a raise after 90 days and earned sick time, compared to Mcdonald’s national average of $7.62 per hour,” said Organize Now's director Stephanie Porta in a statement to Channel 9.

The "Fight for $15" campaign has gained national attention at a time when growing income disparities have become a hot political issue.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the fast-food protests are attempts by unions "to boost their dwindling membership." The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests this week.