While it’s typically quiet at 9 a.m. as students shuffle to early morning classes, the Diag was filled Thursday with cries of “Hey, Wendy’s, you can’t hide — we can see your greedy side.”

The chants were part of a solidarity event planned by United Students Against Sweatshops and JustDems, a committee of the University’s chapter of College Democrats that focuses on social justice issues. USAS organized the event to support causes such as an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour and fast food workers’ right to unionize.

The group of students also included representatives from the College Democrats, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, the Washtenaw Community Action Team and the Graduate Employees’ Organization.

Starting at The Cube, the group marched through campus handing out flyers to students and delivering letters to fast-food workers in the Michigan Union and the Michigan League.

LSA sophomore Ryne Menhennick, co-chair of JustDems, said he hoped the event helped raise awareness for the cause.

“One of the main goals was to show the workers that we’re standing with them and supporting them in their struggle for better wages, better benefits and better hours,” Menhennick said.

The USAS protest was part of a larger, nationwide strike organized Thursday. Fast-food workers in 100 cities across the country coordinated a walkout in support of Fight for 15, a Chicago-based labor organization of fast food and retail workers.

Fight for 15 contacted the University’s USAS to bring similar protests to Ann Arbor. The movement began last December and has steadily gained momentum.

“This is a big day for Fight for 15,” Menhennick said. “There was some action over the summer, but this is the first day that there has been a nationwide collective movement at all once.”

The letter given to Wendy’s and Taco Bell detailed the group’s concerns about their employees’ livelihood. The prevailing wages paid to fast food workers — a nationwide median of $8.94 an hour — leaves over half of employees relying on public assistance programs to cover their basic needs, according to a University of California Berkeley Labor Center and University of Illinois study.

Historically, teenagers have been the majority of minimum wage employees, but 40 percent of current minimum-wage workers are between the ages of 25 and 54, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

LSA junior Max Lerner, who participated in the protest, said he believes he minimum wage struggle is one of the defining issues in American politics as more people are working in low-paying service jobs due to a sluggish economic recovery.

“If they are forced to have poverty wages then there is really no future for the middle class in this country,” Lerner said. “That’s why the minimum wage and raising it is such a key issue.”

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